Fiscal year-to-date collections from the local 1 percent meal and beverage tax were running 4 percent lower than the year before in Westerly, according to the latest report from the Rhode Island Department of Revenue, which tabulated the results through October.
For the first four months of the current fiscal year, the tax produced $444,213 for Westerly, compared with $463,582 for the same period in 2017. The difference represents a decline in sales of $1,936,000 for the town's bars, restaurants, and other businesses that are supposed to collect the tax.
All of the money is distributed to host municipalities. Westerly consistently ranks fifth in the state in meal and beverage sales, behind Providence, Newport, Warwick, and Cranston.
In keeping with the seasonal nature of Westerly's economy, the drop-off in taxable sales from September was nearly 30 percent last year. The October collection amounted to $61,492, compared with $87,290 in September.
Among other area towns, Charlestown was running 6 percent ahead of 2017, with collections totaling $96,507 through October.
Hopkinton's year-to-date total was up 19.1 percent, to $23,166 for the four-month period. Richmond was down nearly 23 percent, to $50,980.
For all of Rhode Island, the 1 percent tax generated $10.4 million for the 39 municipalities for the July-October period of 2018, compared with a little less than $11.1 million in 2017. The decline amounted to 6.1 percent, according to the Office of Revenue Analysis, a sales decrease of more than $65.7 million.