After several record-breaking years, the Gulf County Tourist Development is adding a gold edition to the count.
Bed tax revenue for the month of June increased 14.69 percent, according to numbers from the Gulf County Tax Collector.
That spike, on top of the 15 percent increase in June 2017, continued a winning streak on bed taxes that dates to five years ago.
Consider just the month of June.
In the fiscal year 2013-2014, bed tax dollars totaled just under $217,000; bed taxes in June 2018 surpassed $444,589.
Yes, a fifth penny was added along the way, but since that penny was implemented and first collected, June receipts have grown from $291,242 to $444,500.
“With June, we are getting into our biggest collection months,” said TDC executive director Kelli Godwin.
For the fiscal year that began October 2017, bed tax revenue is up 14.36 percent compared to the same juncture in the prior fiscal year.
Even more impressive is that 10 months into the fiscal year, the TDC has had just one month which finished down compared to the same month the prior year.
In comparison, during fiscal year 2016-2017, which finished up 7.06 compared to the prior year, there were five months that came in down compared year over year.
“We are holding steady,” Godwin said. “Everyone we’ve talked to said that July was also up.”
The only question about July is to the extent, if any, bed tax collection reports will be impacted by the June 30 date of check-in for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
In terms of dollars, bed taxes are at $1.388 million for the year, up $174,291 from last year when collections exceeded $2 million for the first time.
It was just five years ago, fiscal year 2012-2013, that the TDC brought in over $1 million.
The TDC “Turtle Trail” is in the home stretch, with a ribbon cutting on the project scheduled for 9 a.m. ET Aug. 14; artists and sponsoring businesses will be recognized during the event.
The “Turtle Trail” includes six steel turtles fabricated by local artist Alex Henderson, who modeled the turtles after the centerpiece of the sea turtle monument he is constructing on Marina Drive for the Florida Coastal Conservancy.
The smaller turtles were painted by local artists who applied to decorate the turtles, with the TDC seeking Gulf County-themed artistry.
Local businesses signed up to sponsor the turtles, the first “hatching” of what the TDC hopes will be an annual event as the trail is expanded.
All turtles have been painted, with final coats going on last week and this, Godwin said.
Posts are also up for installation in several local parks, from Dead Lakes to Salinas Park.