LOT by the numbers

There are some members of the Waitsfield Select Board who support the idea of a Waitsfield-only local option tax (LOT), rather than the tri-town (Warren, Waitsfield and Fayston) approach that is currently under consideration.

The current tri-town approach would ask voters to approve a 1 percent local option tax on rooms, meals, alcohol and retail sales that are subject to the state sales tax. Using state tax receipts from 2017, such an LOT would raise about $1 million of which the three towns would keep $700,000 to invest in the community in housing, transportation, community projects, recreation and marketing.

Mad River Valley Planning District steering committee chair and Warren Select Board vice chair Bob Ackland updated those numbers this week using 2018 state receipts and broke the numbers down town by town. The 2018 numbers show a tri-town LOT raising $990,135 with a local yield of $693,095.

The state tax data does not include reporting information for towns with fewer than 10 reporting units in any particular category, so that data from rooms and alcohol taxes in Fayston are not fully reported.

Retail sales (including ski passes and tickets) in the three towns totaled $65,974,700 in 2018, which breaks down to Fayston, $1,858,102; Waitsfield, $39,053,608; and Warren, $25,062,990. A 1 percent LOT on those retail sales would raise $659,747.

Meals in the three towns totaled $16,804,901 with alcohol totaling $5,595,316 and rooms totaling $10,638,667. Those three categories would yield LOT funds of $330,388. Waitsfield was where $17,611,527 was spent on rooms, meals and alcohol in 2018. In Warren $15,236,693 was spent, and in Fayston, due to the state reporting protocols, the incomplete data shows $190,664 spent on rooms alone.

A Waitsfield-only LOT would yield $390,536 from retail sales and $176,115 for rooms, meals and alcohol for a total of $566,651, of which the state would keep approximately 30 percent, or $169,995. That would leave Waitsfield with $396,656.