October sales tax jumps by 15 percent

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City sales-tax revenue took a giant leap forward in October, after months of either stagnating or declining.

October brought in $829,000 in sales-tax revenue, a 15.46 percent or a $111,052 increase from the year before.

Although October is one of the lowest revenue producing months of the year, City Finance Director Dan Taylor is hoping it is a sign of better times.

"I think the next couple of months are going to be stronger than previous years. It might not be 15 percent, but more positive," Taylor said.

Taylor said that in looking at the sales-tax revenue collected by regions and sectors in Steamboat, sales tax increased across the board, indicating that it was not a single factor or event that led to the jump.

The mountain area and the lodging community saw the largest increases for a region and a sector. The mountain saw a 40.73 percent increase, bringing in $43,563, and the lodging industry saw a 60.19 percent increase, bringing in $51,335 in sales-tax revenue.

Construction also increased in October and, as in past months, jumped dramatically from the year before. October's building use tax saw a 109.51 percent increase from 2002 with $207,280 collected, which is the most the building-use tax has brought in during a single month for the past two years.

"Construction activity really picked up in the last two or three months, which makes its way through the local economy through jobs and people spending money," Taylor said.

For the year, the building use tax increased by 81.74 percent from 2002, and the city has collected $957,687.

Since August, city sales tax has been higher than the previous year. In August, the increase was 1.69 percent, and September's was just 0.33 percent. Before August, the city either had negative sales-tax revenues compared to the year before or increases of less than 1 percent.

October's 15 percent increase helped pull up the year-to-date sales tax totals to just 0.58 percent less than in 2002. The city has collected $11.3 million.

"It is nice to get some good news for a change," Taylor said. "I felt like it would turn around midyear sometime. I was surprised it stayed as soft as it was for as long as it did."

Aspen saw an 8.61 percent increase in sales tax for October, and Winter Park had a 1.01 percent increase in sales tax revenue.

To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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