2012 bed tax receipts reviewed

In 2012, Seneca County saw the most lodging receipts ever and the highest amount of gross receipts since at least 2004, said John Detwiler, president and CEO of Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services.

During the commissioners’ Tuesday morning work session, which took place before its official board meeting, Detwiler and Carol Yager, director of Destination Seneca County, gave the 2012 yearend wrap-up for the program.

Destination Seneca County measures the county’s lodging receipts and gross receipts, he said.

The county generated $75,161 in 2012 from the lodging tax, which is the most since inception of the tax in 2000, Detwiler said.

“We were successful in generating heads in beds,” he said.

The county saw a 6 percent increase in gross receipts in 2012 from 2011, the largest increase since 2004, he said.

“Obviously visitor services can’t take all the credit for the increase in gross receipts, but we’ll take some of it,” he said. “And the chamber will take some of it as well by advocating ‘spend your money at home, don’t go down (State) Route 224.'”

He said because of the way lodging taxes are structured, the organization will not receive figures from the first quarter of this year until mid-May.

Detwiler said most counties’ lodging tax is at the state maximum of 3 percent, and Seneca County has a 2 percent tax. He said the county should consider increasing the tax to 3 percent at some point.

He said the competitive landscape is not driven by the bed tax, but rather the amenities the county has to offer.

Detwiler also showed off Destination Seneca County’s new website and social media pages to commissioners, in addition to its 2013 visitors guide.

“This is first-class,” Commissioner Fred Zoeller said about the Destination Seneca County visitors guide.

Also during the work session, Commissioner Jeff Wagner asked Carol Owen of the Heritage Festival to make sure Courthouse Square will be cleaned up after the event, and requested to keep high traffic off the lawn.

Owen said the festival having children’s rides on the Courthouse Square last year was a miscommunication.

She requested permission to have a hot air balloon event on the lot, and commissioners agreed.

Owen, who also is the administrator at Seneca County Job and Family Services, spoke about employment programs the organization offers.

She said JFS has several training programs available to assist employers with newly hired employees.

JFS will have a booth at the May 13 job fair, she said.