May sales tax numbers down

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May sales tax numbers continued a four-month slide in falling city revenue.

The city saw a 1.33-percent decrease in May sales tax revenue from the same month in 2002, which puts its year-to-date sales tax numbers down by 3.02 percent.

Since February, City Coun-cil members have discussed the effects of dropping sales tax revenue. Each 1-percent decrease in sales tax revenue translates into $140,000 less expected revenue for the year.

If the city does not meet its projected 3-percent increase in sales tax revenue for the year, it will have to take $332,000 out of reserves, the finance department noted in a memo to the council on the comprehensive annual financial report.

City Manager Paul Hughes has said city departments have cut back on costs and are trying not to build, buy or hire anything or anyone new.

With $6.17 million collected this year, the city's revenue is down $192,416.

May is traditionally the month that produces the lowest sales tax numbers. This year, it brought in $694,794 compared with $704,180 last year.

Sandy Evans-Hall, executive vice president of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, said wea-ther drives visits to Steamboat in May. In 2002, May was filled with warm, sunny weekends that got people on the Front Range thinking about heading to the mountains, she said. In a normal wet May, such as this year, the Front Range crowd is not as apt to come up to the mountains.

She also said the fact that Steamboat hosted no special events in May contributed to the flat number of visits.

"I am not too surprised that we would be down or flat in May," Evans-Hall said.

She said lodging numbers for this summer have held strong compared with last year. A few weekends in June were higher than 2002, the July Fourth weekend was strong, and numbers for this weekend's Steamboat Mountain Soccer Tournament are as high as last year.

But Evans-Hall said the number of people in town for Rainbow Weekend seemed down, and fewer Triple Crown teams are coming to town at the end of July and August.

"We have to see how that impacts the total numbers," Evans-Hall said.

May had a boost in the accommodation tax, which saw a 14-percent increase, although it meant just more than $1,000 in revenue.

After a two-month increase, the building use tax had a 69-percent drop from May 2002. This May brought in $41,840, compared with $139,260 last year. The year-to-date total is $168,484, a 23-percent decrease from the year before.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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