Okaloosa bed tax numbers down again (DOCUMENT)

Published: Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 09:09 AM.

Following the Mark Bellinger financial scandal last year, Okaloosa County’s Tourist Development Council virtually stopped spending money to market the area as the agency went through a major overhaul.

The fallout is coming into focus, as the county’s bed tax collections were down for the second month in a row in May and for four of the past six months.

The county collected a little more than $1.26 million in bed tax revenue in May. That was a decrease of 2.5 percent from May 2012, when more than $1.29 million was collected.

“In talking to other people and in my business, everybody is off this year, and it’s a result of what we think is the lack of marketing at this county,” said Tim Edwards, co-owner of Fudpucker’s Beachside Bar and Grill.

See May numbers for Santa Rosa, Okaloosa counties. >>

Dale Peterson, chairman of the TDC and president of Dale E. Peterson Realty, said the board recently approved an expanded marketing plan for the fall to try to build back the county’s profile in its major markets.

“We really have been in a holding pattern with our funding,” Peterson said. “The pendulum swung all the way to one side where it should have been in the middle when we were dealing with what happened in the past.”



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