CARTERET COUNTY — Another month reported, another monthly occupancy tax revenue record not just broken, but obliterated.
In his monthly report to the Carteret County Beach Commission, Greg Rudolph, manager of the County Shore Protection Office, said revenue from the tax in April 2021 totaled $768,260, “an eye-popping 80% higher than the previous record for the month, set in 2018,” which was $426,106.
April, the latest month for which figures have been reported, continued a record-breaking trend that began in July 2020 after coronavirus travel restrictions were lifted. That month’s record was an all-time — for any month — record of $2.41 million. Since then, every month has broken the record for its respective month’s collection.
The occupancy tax is 6% percent of gross receipts from the rental of any room, lodging or accommodation furnished by a hotel, motel, inn or similar place within the county.
As Cedar Point Mayor Scott Hatsell said during his town’s board of commissioners’ meeting on June 22, “This county is on fire” in terms of visitation and development.
“We have been discovered,” he said, repeating a mantra many have shared in recent months.
County sheriff’s deputy Kurt Nakamura, who works for Cedar Point full-time under a contract with the county, agreed. He said traffic this month has been extremely heavy, to the point where he’s reached out to the N.C. Highway Patrol to see if troopers can provide more assistance than normal. The help could be especially necessary as the Fourth of July holiday – usually the peak of tourism season – is Sunday.
Mr. Rudolph delivered his report to the beach commission Monday during its June meeting in Emerald Isle.
He noted in his report the collection in April 2020 – the height of the lockdown under state emergency rules – was only $40,378.
“Again … it is still very apparent we are experiencing a significant uptick in visitation, almost certainly predicated by changing vacationing patterns, remote-working opportunities and the relaxing of social distancing restrictions associated with COVID-19,” Mr. Rudolph wrote. “This phenomenon is sky-rocketing our collections compared to the previous fiscal; we are up by 59% through 10 months of the 2020-21 fiscal year compared to the same point in time in FY 2019-20.”
Those fiscal year to-date totals, July to April, are $8,196,676 in fiscal 2021-22 versus $5,154,938 in fiscal 2020-21.
“In fact,” Mr. Rudolph said in his report, “our collection through the first ten months of FY 2020-21 is already 12.7% greater than that of the entire 2019-20 fiscal year ($7,271,245), with two more months to be reported.”
As for the other months this year, January 2021 beat the record set in January 2019 by 79.7%, February 2021 surpassed the previous February high-water mark in 2020 by 45.4% and March 2021 exceeded the March 2019 best by 97.7%.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email email@example.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.