Orange County receives $24M in Tourist Development Tax collections for September

September ‘22 TDT collections show 48.6% increase over ‘21

The entrance to the Walt Disney theme park is seen as the park is closed as Hurricane Ian bears down on Florida, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (John Raoux, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County’s Tourist Development Tax collections in September topped August’s record-setting report by $1 million and soared quite high past last year’s numbers, according to a news release Thursday from Comptroller Phil Diamond.

Collections received in September totaled $24,444,200, Diamond said, higher than September 2021′s collections by $17.4 million and the highest for the month on record. The county’s highest-ever monthly TDT collections were over $38.5 million, made in March 2022.

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Diamond again reported the fiscal year 2021-22 brought in the highest annual collections ever, now totaling $336.3 million. The previous record was set in the fiscal year 2018-19 at $284 million, Diamond said.

According to Diamond, this latest report was favorable due to a combination of strong hotel demand — 14% above 2019 — and an Average Daily Rate of $129, higher than any other September.

A bar graph comparing monthly Orange County TDT collections in fiscal years 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22, with the month of September highlighted throughout. (Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond)

According to the comptroller’s website, the TDT is a 6% tax paid by guests renting or leasing living quarters or other accommodations in Orange County for six months or less.

TDT collections can’t be spent on just anything, however.

According to the comptroller’s website, expenditures for the first 4 cents of the 6-cent tax are limited by state statute “to the acquisition and operation of convention centers, sports stadiums and arenas, auditoriums and museums, promotion and/or advertisement of tourism and funding of tourist and convention bureaus and tourist information centers,” the 5th cent is used to pay the debt service on bonds issued for “the construction, reconstruction, or renovation of a professional sports franchise facility or subsequently a convention center or promote and advertise tourism,” and the 6th cent is used “to pay the debt service on bonds issued to finance the construction, reconstruction, or renovation of a new professional sports franchise facility or a retained spring training franchise that was not based in Florida prior to April 1, 1987.”

Aside, Diamond reiterated his recommendation that the Board of County Commissioners make no new major funding commitments until annual TDT collections and reserves hit $300 million. With collections now at $336 million, the milestone having been met in August, commissioners now look toward the $269 million now in TDT reserves, up from $259 million in the August report.

The October TDT report will be released in early December, Diamond said.

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Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.