Big gain reported in Westerly’s food and beverage business

Big gain reported in Westerly’s food and beverage business

The Westerly Sun

Figures released last week by the Rhode Island Department of Revenue show that fiscal year-to-date collections of the local 1 percent meal and beverage tax were running 16.4 percent higher as of November 2017, compared with the same five-month period in 2016.

The gain from the July-November period amounted to $80,514. The tax had produced $570,221 in revenue for the Town of Westerly by the end of November, compared with $489,707 at the same time a year earlier. The tax is levied on sales of meals and beverages that are prepared away from home and is a direct barometer of economic activity, especially in a tourism-dependent town like Westerly. 

Year over year, the November figures were especially striking. On a percentage basis, the town ranked first in Rhode Island among municipalities with more than a token amount of meal and beverage tax revenue. In November 2017, the tax yielded $106,639 in Westerly, an increase of 115.4 percent from November 2016, when the amount was $49,518. On a month-to-month percentage basis, Westerly ranked first among the 39 municipalities, with the $106,639 collection 75.2 percent more than the revenue from October 2017, $60,869, according to the state revenue department. 

Bottom line: Westerly’s bars, restaurants, and other meal and drink vendors did more than $10.6 million of business last November, a time that is several months removed from the town’s peak tourism season.

— Sun staff


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