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ORLANDO-Orange County’s resort tax collections in October, the first month of its 2006 fiscal year, totaled $10 million, a 3% increase over the same period last year, reports county comptroller Martha O. Haynie. The county had projected $10.1 million in collections.

“The amount collected in October is slightly below budget, reflecting a slowing rate of growth in this revenue,” Haynie says. “Nevertheless, $10 million is a solid start for our new fiscal year.” The county ended its 2005 fiscal year Sept. 30, setting a 26-year-old collections record of $120.1 million.

By comparison, in its first collections year of 1979 when the room tax was only 2%, the county collected $3.49 million. The tax went to 3% in 1986, 4% in 1990 and 5% in 1995. The county has collected a total $1.4 billion over a 26-year period. The county has 116,000 hotel and motel rooms and other short-term rentals.

The $10 million in October collections signals a rally in the local hospitality market, area brokers and resort marketers tell GlobeSt.com. They base their optimism on figures for the prior two months. The county collected only $6.67 million in September, the lowest total in fiscal 2005. In August, collections totaled $8.36 million.

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