Sales tax up in February

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The city's sales tax took a 6.10 percent jump in February, but half of the increase was attributed to the extra day in the month.

February brought in close to $1.6 million in sales tax revenue compared with $1.5 million in February of 2003. City Finance Director Don Taylor said 3.7 percent of the increase could be connected to the extra day in February.

"(This year) was a Leap Year, which explains a little bit of the increase," said Sandy Evans Hall, executive vice president of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.

"That, I think, brings us a little more in line with what we thought would come in."

She said the remainder of the increase largely could be attributed to the increases in utility and gas prices.

She pointed to the dramatic increase in sales tax collected through utilities and regional taxes. Utilities had a 13.47 percent increase with $141,273 collected, and regional sales tax saw a 17.27 percent increase with $172,003 collected.

The sporting goods sector also did well with a 13 percent increase and more than $151,000 collected in sales tax. The restaurant sectors, liquor stores and miscellaneous retail also had increases in February.

With a 3.7 percent increase, Evans Hall said lodging remained flat from the previous February. The accommodation tax increased by 3.58 percent bringing in $115,412.

Even with the extra day in February, the 2004 February sales tax numbers were still lower than those collected in 2001 and 2002.

The city is off to a strong start in sales tax revenue for 2004. In January, the city collected 3.53 percent more than the previous January.

Evans Hall said the city saw one week in March draw a huge crowd because the county had a more concentrated spring break.

"We could have sold out that week a couple times over," Evans Hall said.

The rest of March is questionable, Evans Hall said, because the unseasonably warm weather could take people's minds off skiing and on to warmer recreational activities.

"Skiing just doesn't stay in the front of the mind," she said.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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