Local taxes show impact of Hurricane Michael

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DOTHAN, Al. (WTVY) - The impact of Hurricane Michael's devastation is still very evident after almost 4-months. Some people are still waiting to get back into their homes. Others, just left and headed to Dothan and the results are impressive for the city.

Lodging tax revenue was up more than 42 percent in December and since this year began, Dothan has collected almost a quarter of a million dollars more than in January 2018.

Blake Fullhart and his family lost everything in Hurricane Michael. The store he worked at also gone.

"The only thing that gave me strength was Jesus Christ and keeping my family safe. I was nervous and I kept trying to tell them to get to the closet but it was scary," said Fullhart.

After the storm, FEMA placed Fullhart and his family with temporary housing in Dothan.

"I kept trying to think what to do what to do," said Fullhart.

"We did get a lot of business from it because Panama City didn't have places for workers to stay so it led them up to Dothan," said Kimberly Brown, Dothan Holiday Inn General Manager.

And led Fullhart to the Holiday Inn, not as a guest. He's now the new night auditor.

Down the road at the Fairfield Inn, rooms are hard to find.

"Seeing the gamut from relief workers, utility workers, FEMA employees, displaced guests impacted by Hurricane Michael then different vendors trying to do bid work down in that area,” said Adam Nichols, Fairfield Inn General Manager.

As for Blake Fullhart - he's grateful that amid tragedy, he has a new start in his new city.

"It was hard every time i look back and think about the hurricane or anything like that it's rough because not including what i went through what everyone else is going through down there"

The influx of people from Florida has also been good for area stores.
Sales tax revenue in Dothan has increased by a million dollars since Hurricane Michael.