Sales tax revenue and hotel occupancy down

LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - The City of Laredo is getting a picture of how the pandemic is affecting important sources of revenue.

Local officials are preparing to move forward with the mindset that things will continue to decline.

The pandemic's impact on the community started in March. Now data is showing city officials how much bridge closures and the stay at home order is costing them.

In Wednesday's briefing, City Manager Robert Eads shared the latest sales tax numbers from the city, transit, and sports venue.

It shows a decrease of approximately seven percent, comparing March 2020 numbers to 2019.

"When we started looking at comparables within the state again, when we're looking at payments from 2020 to date, compared to 2019 payments to date, as we stretch it out for the entire year we're looking at still a positive on the sales tax, still a positive of .52 percent," said Eads. "Again, that's not going to carry us very far."

The city hotel occupancy numbers in April were down.

According to Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Aileen Ramos, the city usually averages at more than 70 percent.

"We were expecting a decline of numbers all the way to the low 30's or below 30. The reason is everything we've heard from state associations and hotels, and as he mentioned we're fortunate to have that component of trade here in our city that's kept us slightly above that number, which is 42 percent."

Hotel rates are hovering in the high $60 price range.

Eads says compared to other cities across the state, we're doing well for hotel occupancy because of trade.

"Corpus Christi went from the same time last year of about 77 percent occupancy, this past month in April they went down to 30 percent, South Padre Island 64 percent, 2019 rate, down to 22 percent, Brownsville from 68 percent to 41 percent, McAllen from 71 percent occupancy to 25 percent."

According to Eads, they expect to continue seeing a decline in the next report for the month of April.

The announcement of continued bridge closures remains a concern for the city since tourism drives sales tax and hotel occupancy.