Year-to-date allocations of Rhode Island hotel taxes in fiscal 2019 were running 2 percent higher through October in Westerly, according to final figures released Thursday by the state Department of Revenue.
The total for the four months ending in October 2018 was $471,810, compared with $462,181 for the same period in 2017. The amount includes both the 1 percent hotel tax, which is remitted wholly to the municipalities where the hotels and other lodgings are located, plus the local city and towns' share of the 5 percent state hotel tax.
Towns like Westerly receive 25 percent of the proceeds of the state tax. As of October, the local tax produced $220,721 of revenue for Westerly (reflecting $22 million in hotel, room, and dwelling rentals), while the state tax yielded $251,089.
According to the revenue department's report on the 1 percent tax, Westerly's results reflect the coastal area's seasonal drop-off in room rentals: The local tax generated $18,587 for the town last October, down 49 percent from September's $36,363. The difference is similar for the state tax collection.
Breaking down the collection by components, the rental of dwelling units by homeowners or Realtors accounts for a fairly substantial portion of the town's revenue. Looking only at the 1 percent tax, for example, the fiscal year-to-date figure of $220,721 included $19,850 from the Realtor-homeowner category, or nearly 9 percent. The online rental of rooms by "hosting platforms and room resellers" accounted for another $960.
Meanwhile, the Charlestown-based South County Tourism District, which covers Westerly and 10 other area towns, received $769,707 from the state hotel tax in the first four months of fiscal 2019, up 6 percent from the same period in 2017. It is among the regional tourism promotion districts that are allocated 45 percent of the tax.