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Tourism took a hit when red tide moved onto Indian River beaches last fall

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — The red tide that plagued the Treasure Coast during early fall is still causing havoc in the county, this time with tourism taxes.

During October and November, local tourist-tax revenue dropped sharply, with hotels, motels and restaurants feeling the pinch of closed beaches and dead fish along the shoreline.

More:Indian River County red tide was most toxic on the East Coast

In October, collections of the tax, also known as the bed tax, dropped more than 10 percent from October 2017, while in November, the decline was nearly 6 percent compared to the same period in 2017, Budget Director Kristin Daniels told the County Commission Tuesday. Still, tourism taxes were ahead of county budget estimates by nearly 17 percent, or $52,473, she said

The county collects a 4 percent tax on all short-term lodging including hotels, campgrounds, mobile homes and timeshares. That means anyone who rents or leases an accommodation for six months or less pays 11 percent tax: 6 percent state sales tax, 1 percent county sales tax and the 4 percent tourist-development tax.

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