The Napa Valley’s most tourist-dependent town expects a decline in hotel tax revenue in the wake of the North Bay wildfires – but not as much as may have been feared.
Yountville’s steady upward march in room tax funds – the source of two-thirds of its general-fund budget – is forecast to end in the 2017-18 fiscal year. Estimated proceeds from the 12.5 percent tax charged to overnight guests should total $6.8 million in the year ending July 1, down from the $7.1 million tally of 2016-17, town staff said during a budget preview to the Town Council recently.
A growing number of high-end resorts and lodgings charging hundreds of dollars per night have bolstered Yountville’s reputation as a luxurious wine-country hideaway while pushing the town’s share of hotel-driven revenue to one of the highest levels in California. But the risks of such a dependence on overnight guests were laid bare after the Oct. 8 eruption of wildfires across Napa and Sonoma counties, where the immediate threats of death and destruction were followed by the lingering economic threat of aborted vacations and travel.
In the first three months after the fires, lodgings across Napa County totaled $17 million in lost revenue, leaving revenue for all of 2017 virtually flat compared to the year before, Visit Napa Valley reported in late January. The impact was heaviest immediately after the disaster.