Sales tax revenues continue to rise

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The month of May continued the trend of increasing sales tax revenues for the city, with a 3.35 percent increase over the previous May.

May, which is the city's lowest sales tax-generating month of the year, brought in $734,017 for 2004. Since the start of the year, sales tax numbers have continued to increase over the year before. The city has collected $6.5 million -- a year-to-date total 4.8 percent above last year.

"We are slightly ahead of what we budgeted for," city Finance Director Don Taylor said.

Early indications predict that June sales tax revenue will be above last year, too, Taylor said.

When the city budgeted for 2004, it predicted a 1.45 percent increase in sales tax for 2004. At the time, the council approved dipping into reserves for $214,550 to cover expenses.

But with higher-than-expected sales tax revenue, the city has collected $200,000 more than anticipated. That will decrease the amount the city needs to use from its reserves and will be used for unexpected expenses that arise during the year, Taylor said.

The city already has approved a $260,000 supplemental appropriation for repairing a Howelsen Hill ski jump.

Taylor said it is likely the council will dip into reserves to balance out the budget, but noted the money will be spent on capital improvements.

Steamboat Springs is not the only mountain town that has seen its sales tax revenue increase. Aspen's year-to-date sales tax revenue has increased by 10.67 percent, Snowmass by 5.8 percent and Vail by 6.33 percent. Glenwood Springs has seen a 4.53 percent decrease in year-to-date sales tax totals.

For the month of May in Steamboat, restaurants, liquor stores and miscellaneous retail all saw substantial increases in sales tax revenue. But sporting goods sales and lodging had a hefty drop.

The accommodation tax dropped by 6.92 percent, bringing in just $7,429. Year-to-date, the accommodation tax is down by 1.15 percent with $367,861 collected.

The building-use tax is up 390 percent from last year, with $205,303 collected. Year-to-date, the building-use tax is 135 percent above last year with $395,321 collected.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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