Eating out's in: City meals tax revenue rebounds
With the recent announcement that Charlottesville and Albemarle County are expecting double-digit increases in meals tax revenue for 2013, it looks like our flair for gastronomy is an indicator of economic recovery.
"The tax has been doing much better as the economy has improved," says Charlottesville Commissioner of Revenue Lee Richards, "and we have picked up some new accounts that have really helped." (He just picked up a biggie on March 19 when Cook-Out opened.)
What a difference a few years can make. Back in July 2009, Richard said it was the "worst I've seen it in 35 years," with meal tax revenue falling and restaurant owners struggling to pay their bills.
Richards says the recovery began in 2011 when revenue hit a five-year high of $6.8 million. For 2012, Richards estimates that revenue will be a whopping $7.3 million. For 2013, revenue is expected to be $7.7 million, however, $229,000 of that would be due to a proposed tax due date change from the last day of the month to the 20th of each month.
Richards's tax information came just a few days after Southern Living magazine released the results of a readers poll calling Charlottesville the #5 "tastiest" town in the region, and Richards calls his revenue projections "conservative" based on the history of increases since 2011.
"Some of these increases are due to new business in the city," says Richards, "but the majority is due to increases in existing city businesses."