County sets new record for bed tax in 2021

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 April 2022 at 4:08 pm

$79,102 tops previous high of $58,438 in 2020

Photo by Tom Rivers: Orleans County Legislator Ed Morgan presents a proclamation to Dawn Borchet, the county’s tourism director. The proclamation declared May 1-7 as “National Travel and Tourism Week” in Orleans County. Jack Welch, the county chief administrative officer, is in back.

ALBION – Orleans County set a new record in 2021 for its bed tax, the 4-percent tax charged on lodging for rooms in hotels, motels, bed and breakfast establishments, lodges and rentals in the county through Airbnb.

The county took in $79,102 in the bed tax in 2021. That is up $20,664 or 35 percent from the previous high of $58,438 in 2020.

The bed tax stayed stable in 2020 despite many cancellations in the early days of Covid. But the lodging business picked up in the county the second half of 2020 and the bed tax receipts topped the $58,424 in 2019.

The county added more Airbnb locations in 2021, and a 10-room boutique hotel opened at the Bent’s Opera House in Medina.

The numbers should be even better in 2022 with the opening of the 58-room Comfort Inn & Suites in Medina on March 18.

The county using the funds to boost tourism in the county, bringing more visitors to help boost local businesses and the economy.

Dawn Borchet, the tourism director for the county, said the added funds will allow the tourism department to take out bigger advertisements and other promotions for longer periods. The funds are also matched through the I Love NY tourism promotion efforts.

The motel tax has been on the rise in Orleans County in recent years. Prior to the $58,438 in 2020 and $58,424 in 2019, the motel tax generated $51,002 in 2018. In 2017, the bed tax generated $45,374.

The County Legislature on Wednesday also issued a proclamation in support of “National Travel and Tourism Week” in Orleans County from May 1-7.

Legislators noted that sportsfishing is the county’s tourism attraction, with a total economic impact of $28 million with $5.1 million in local and state tax revenue, according to the NY State DEC Anglers Survey for 2017.