Sales tax receipts still lag

But building use taxes are up

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City sales tax receipts in September were down 0.16 percent from September 2002, the city of Steamboat Springs reported.

Overall, sales taxes are down 1.7 percent or $183,109 for the year to date.

September sales tax collections typically are among the lowest of the year. This year, the city collected $925,931 for the month.

Sales taxes have been up over 2002 in only three months this year -- January, May and August. The city has gathered $10,515,284 in sales taxes for 2003.

City Finance Director Don Taylor said it is hard to read much into the September numbers.

"I just don't think it indicates anything convincing one way or the other," Taylor said. "We are waiting for ski season to see how (sales tax numbers) turn out."

Taylor sad the city has yet to collect data for October.

The city budgeted for sales taxes to be comparable to 2002. So, to make up for the $180,000 shortfall, Taylor said the city has eliminated a few positions, delayed capital improvement projects and pulled money out of reserves.

Sales tax revenues were down across the board except for utilities and liquor stores. Utilities rose 12.46 percent, while taxes on liquor sales grew 8.92 percent.

Sales taxes on lodging declined nearly 4 percent.

The mountain area saw the largest decrease in sales taxes, down 14 percent from September 2002. The west of Steamboat area also saw a decrease, dropping by 5.17 percent from last year.

Winter Park, Aspen and Glenwood Springs also saw sales tax declines for September. Taylor said September could be more of an off season for other resort companies than Steamboat Springs because of its lower elevation and longer summer seasons.

The city has seen a dramatic increase in building use tax receipts.

The city collected $105,678 in September building use taxes, a 254 percent increase over September 2002. Year-to-date totals show a 75 percent increase from 2002 with $750,407 collected.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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