Grand Gulf workers continue to boost city coffers, VCVB

Published 11:52 am Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The outage at Grand Gulf Nuclear Station that brought thousands of temporary residents to the area is winding down, but its economic impact is still being felt in terms of the county’s hospitality tax, Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Bill Seratt said.

Hospitality taxes received in June and July exceeded the totals for the same period in 2011 by more than $25,000, according to figures presented to the VCVB Board of Directors Thursday. The May hotel occupancy was more than 13 percent higher than May 2011. Occupancy rates for June were not available.

The convention and visitors bureau is supported by a countywide 1 percent sales tax on hotel rooms and food and beverages sold in Vicksburg and Warren County.

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According to the June and July tax reports, the June 2012 total, which represents tax collections in April, was $108,605, about $25,028 more than June 2011. The July 2012 total, which reflects May collections, was $109,232, or $27,154 more than July 2011.

The May occupancy rate was 72.1 percent, 13.5 percent more than 58.6 percent in May 2011.

“These numbers are definitely still the result of the outage,” Seratt said. “The numbers for June will show a decline, but we’re not sure how much. June has still been very busy. All the venues around us are reporting strong numbers.”

The Grand Gulf outage began in January and at one time employed 4,000 workers, most of whom stayed in Vicksburg hotels. The additional visitors boosted hotel occupancies and hospitality tax revenue.

In other action, the board:

• Approved the financial reports for May and June.

• Approved the minutes for the May meeting.

• Approved the executive director’s and the department reports.

• Learned the VCVB will host 130 travel writers at a special program on Sept. 15.

• Learned the bureau’s visitor information centers had 7,966 visitors in June, 4,560 more than in June 2011.