Sarasota News Leader

09/21/12

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TOURIST TAX TRIUMPH The Baltimore Orioles star center fielder, Adam Jones, gets a hit against the Detroit Tigers at Ed Smith Stadium in March. Sarasota County tourism promotions in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area lure thousands of fans to Sarasota for spring training games. Photo by Norman Schimmel TOURISM REMAINS BRIGHTEST SPOT IN COUNTY'S ECONOMY, WITH TOURIST DEVELOPMENT TAX REVENUE 20% HIGHER THAN PROJECTED By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Running 20.1% above what Sarasota Coun- ty finance planning officials had projected for the year, the tourist development tax revenue remains the brightest line item in the latest county revenue report. Just for the month of August, the tourist tax revenue was 39.8% above the level staff had projected. After what she called the "red-hot sum- mer" of 2011 — with the No. 1 Siesta Public Beach ranking bestowed by Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman of Florida International Uni- versity — "our concern was that there was going to be a dip" this summer, Visit Sara- sota County President Haley told The Sara- sota News Leader. "We really pushed everyone [in the office] to knock themselves out" in promoting the county, Haley added. That work has been paying off. In a Sept. 12 email to the County Commis- sion, Haley pointed out that the July TDT revenue figure — the latest available —was "slightly more than we collected in July last year." She added, "This is tremendous news be- cause last July was our best per penny col-

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