Sales tax revenues up 8.6% in July


— Sales tax collections in the city of Steamboat Springs rose 8.6 percent in July over the same month in 1999, indicating a strong summer tourist season. Lodging and accommodation revenues each enjoyed double-digit growth over last summer.
The city collected $1,115,908 in August from July's receipts. If current trends continue, the city should be taking 8 percent more sales tax revenue into its coffers this year, said Director of Finance Don Taylor.
"The increase this month is consistent with the year-to-date increases," Taylor said.
The record heat in July was in part responsible for a 14.5 percent increase in lodging sales tax revenues. Lodging is one of the best indicators of growth in the tourism industry. Sales tax collections in the lodging category come from room nights as well as food and retail sales within hotels and motels.
The hot July probably helped lodging because, during heat waves, vacationers tend to retreat to the mountains in favor of cooler weather.
"Our biggest market is the Front Range and certainly when it gets hot down there, they see Steamboat as a reprieve," said Sandy Evans-Hall, the executive vice president of the Chamber Resort Association. "I think the heat really did drive lodging numbers."
Steamboat offers more than just slightly cooler weather in the summer, though. In July, the city played host to Triple Crown, the Balloon Rodeo and Rainbow Weekend. Each of those events bring in lots of tourists, Evans-Hall said.
July's numbers are another indication that the chamber's summer marketing is paying off. Steamboat's tax revenues increased percentage-wise more than Aspen and Vail combined.
Kathy Connell, City Council member and the co-owner of Colorado Resort Services, thinks that the increase is probably also due to the fact that there are more rooms in Steamboat this year. She is worried that lodging will drop in August and September because the city no longer hosts the vintage car and motorcycle race events.
July's sales tax revenue, however, must be looked at with a conservative eye.
Although accommodations tax revenues rose 13.2 percent, for instance, that represented only $43,509 in actual revenue compared to $151,530 collected from the same tax in March. The city still earns most of its money in the winter months.

To reach Avi Salzman call 871-4203 or e-mail


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