Tax figures show people are visiting Friday Harbor but spending less

People are visiting Friday Harbor but spending less.

That’s what the statistics seem to say: The town has received $518,304.58 as its share of sales tax this year, almost $102,000 less than the same period last year. But the town has received about $9,400 less in lodging tax than it received last year. Month-by-month lodging tax revenues have been about $1,000 less than in the same months of the previous year.

Town Treasurer Wendy Picinich released the latest year-to-date sales and lodging tax figures in mid-September. They repeat what earlier reports have indicated: that the town’s sales and lodging tax revenues are on track to be the lowest since 2004.

The figures show sales tax revenues received in January through August; sales tax revenues are received two months after they are generated, so the revenues were generated from November to June.

Spring showed signs of recovery, with the town receiving $59,765.16 in sales tax revenue in April — $3,827 less than that received in April the previous year. In May, the town received $61,959.74, some $8,209 less than in May the previous year. June was weaker – $16,703 weaker than June 2008, to be exact.

A strong July and August – when the town was crammed for the Centennial Fourth of July festivities and the San Juan County Fair – could give the town its best year since 2005, but we won’t know those figures until later this month.

The town collects two lodging taxes. The first 2 percent tax is collected to support tourism-related facilities, such as public restrooms. The second 2 percent tax is collected to support tourism promotion.

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