Cedar Park and Leander each levy a 7% hotel occupancy tax from their combined 11 hotels. Hotel tax revenues have plummeted statewide as a result of COVID-19.
Sales tax revenue accounts for 30%of Cedar Park’s general fund, according to the city. In mid-May, Cedar Park estimated it will lose between $2.4million-$4.4million in its $21.5 million general fund as a result of COVID-19. The city—which is home tomore businesses than Leander—projected the drop based on sales tax revenue dips between April and September. Leander relies on sales tax to fund about 15% of the city general fund budget, according to the city. Sales tax receipts dropped in all economic indus- tries, according to Texas Comptroller GlennHegar in a July news release. It is noted that social distancing requirements were relaxed across much of Texas in May, which allowed for increased spending. Rebooting local, state or national economies depends on rebuilding consumer condence, according to Stuart Greeneld, an economic adjunct professor at Austin Community College. Greeneld said younger populations aremore com- fortable with returning to bars, restaurants and reg- ular activities. But older populations are more likely to stay at home, which is important to note because they represent a large portion of income, he said. “Until you resolve the COVID-19 [pandemic], there is too much concern, too much fear especially for older people,” Greeneld said. Greeneld said growth and stabilization in sales tax revenue would be a positive indicator of a recov- ering economy. “It’s going to play havoc with the economy because of the ups and downs that will occur,” For annual events, such as South by Southwest Conference & Festivals, Austin City Limits Music Festival and the Austin Film Festival, eventgoers often look to cities like Cedar Park for cheaper or more available accommodations. Texas hotel occupancy tax revenue dropped 63% in April, 86% in May and 61% in June when compared to year-over-year revenue. The May hotel tax decline is the steepest drop in state his- tory for the tax, according to the state. These earnings fund city tourism promotion and is collected from cities or municipalities when guests stay at hotels. HOT revenues do not contribute to a large por- tion of either city’s revenues; however, hotel tax Greeneld said. Tourismdrops
10 HOTELS $953,911 FY 201819 HOTEL TAX REVENUE $464,723 FY 201920 HOTEL TAX REVENUE THROUGH JUNE
1 HOTEL $14,067.92 JAN.MARCH 2020 REVENUE
Cedar Park hotel tax
SOURCE: CITY OF CEDAR PARK, CITY OF LEANDER, TEXAS COMPTROLLER OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTSCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
revenues also represent fewer hotel guests. With only one hotel, Leander has reaped $14,067.92 in HOT revenue since January. Cedar Park reaped about $950,000 in HOT revenue last year. In Leander, the Old Town Street festival was postponed and later canceled Much of Leander tourism is based on basket- ball and baseball tournaments, so hotel stays have declined without those events, said Leander Chamber of Commerce President Bridget Brandt. Sporting events have increased hotel stays min- imally, but hotel stays for major events should return in 2021. “Today I would say that there is little to no tour- ism happening because of COVID[-19],” she said.
Owner Ronnie Swingler and Leander Nutrition sta continued working through the pandemic. (Courtesy Leander Nutrition)
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12332 FM 620 NORTH � AUSTIN � NEAR THE HWY 183 AND TOLLROAD 45 INTERCHANGE, TWO BLOCKS FROM LAKELINE MALL
CEDAR PARK LEANDER EDITION • AUGUST 2020
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