CA - Things are looking especially bleak for coastal towns that rely heavily on tourism revenue for funding
The coronavirus-related shelter at home is taking its toll on everyone in San Luis Obispo County, but things are looking especially bleak for coastal towns that rely heavily on tourism revenue for funding—revenue that is currently non-existent.
Pismo Beach is already preparing for the worst. About 45 percent of Pismo's $24 million annual general fund comes from transient occupancy taxes alone, according to a city staff report, taxes charged to tourists renting rooms in hotels, inns, and other lodging facilities in town.
With non-essential businesses closed down and travel restricted, Pismo is expecting to take a major financial hit.
"The hotels are essentially empty," Pismo Mayor Ed Waage told New Times.
Restaurants and bars are limited to take-out, most wineries and retail stores are closed, and Waage said those closures trickle out and add up to fewer revenues from permits, sales taxes, lodging business improvement district assessments, and other fees that Pismo leans on for funding.
Although Pismo Beach is in comfortable position financially right now, Waage said there are concerns about how long the COVID-19 shutdowns will last and what kinds of long-term economic impacts they'll have. In a staff report, city staff anticipate losses of up to $3 million to $4 million this fiscal year.