Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs businesses set a single-month record for sales tax collections in March with receipts of $1.854 million, an increase of $209,494, or 12.7 percent more than the same period last year.
City Finance Director Karen Feeney confirmed Tuesday that the sales receipts for March represent an all-time record for any month. It figured that the record would be set in March, she added, because that month typically posts the highest receipts of the year. The old record was set in March 1999 at $1,644,960.
December and February typically rank second and third in terms of sales tax yield, Feeney said.
March may also prove to have been a lifesaver for some businesses in Steamboat Springs.
That's the opinion of City Councilwoman Kathy Connell, who also manages Colorado Resort Services, a property management company here. CRS manages 1,054 resort pillows.
"In my mind, we had a lifesaving March," Connell said. "We had a March that was better than other months of March."
If March hadn't been so good, some businesses might have been in trouble, she said.
Pent-up demand for soft spring snow and the fortuitous timing of many spring breaks around the country appeared to have helped the March tax collections considerably, Connell said. After a lethargic start to the ski season due to spotty snow and unfounded Y2K fears, lodging bookings really took off that month.
Sporting goods stores, restaurants and lodging properties led the field in terms of percentage growth in sales taxes.
Steamboat Today reported in March that on some days, local ski shops had rented their entire inventory of rental skis. That trend apparently translated into sales tax numbers, as sporting goods led all industry categories with a 24.63 percent growth in sales tax.
Although that percentage growth rate was dramatic, altogether sporting goods stores combined for exactly 10 percent of the total sales tax receipts in March, according to Feeney.
Neighboring ski towns didn't fare as well in March. Sales tax receipts in Vail and Aspen grew by 2.3 and 2.5 percent, respectively. Breckenridge experienced a 3.2 percent decline.
Steamboat's lodging community, which came out of the gates slowly back in November and December, experienced a jamming March as well. The city's regular sales tax on lodging grew by 13.3 percent in March and the single point of accommodation tax grew by 14.4 percent.
Accommodation tax revenue collected in March totaled $151,530. That compared to $132,472 in 1999 and $133,190 in 1998. Year-to-date accommodation taxes are up 8.7 percent over the same period in 1999.
It is possible to infer from the single point of lodging taxes that Steamboat's lodging community did just over $15 million in business during March.
The latest sales tax figures mean that revenues totaled $6.2 million for the four full months of the ski season, December through March. The same four-month period last year totaled $5.7 million.
The double-digit growth in sales tax revenues is far higher than last year, when March 1999 grew by just 3.5 percent over March 1998. Last month, the city reported an increase of 4.6 percent for February 2000 over the February 1999.
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