Sales tax revenue rises

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Local business managers credit November's surge in sales tax revenue to the area's abundant snowfall and increased business travel.

The Steamboat Springs City Council was presented this week with the sales tax results from November 2005, the most recent month for which data is available. Don Taylor, the city's director of financial services, told the council that November's revenues increased 12.84 percent from November 2004. The year-to-date increase was 7.71 percent.

When broken down by category, sporting goods sales experienced the highest increase -- 33.14 percent -- over 2004 figures.

Chuck O'Connell, the Steamboat area manager for Christy Sports, said Friday that his Central Park Plaza store saw an increase in sales of about 9 percent in November 2005 compared to the previous year.

"I think when you bring that many people to town and combine them with the unbelievable snow conditions we've had, it's a strong recipe for sales in the ski business," O'Connell said.

The mountain area saw a 21.64 increase in sales tax revenues, which Taylor said could be credited to the snowfall. Steamboat Ski Area set a November record for snowfall last year, and it remains to be seen whether December's heavy snow totals will help boost sales tax receipts for that month.

Business at the Holiday Inn was up nearly 20 percent from the previous year, said Barbara Robinson, the hotel's general manager. She said many guests were out-of-area workers who came to Steamboat for local remodeling projects, such as the renovation of Steamboat's two largest grocery stores.

"All of us prospered from that," Robinson said, refer--ring to the Holiday Inn and other hotels along U.S. Highway 40. "We are very happy our that our business has been growing."

The report also lists information about other taxes, including the business-use tax, which is essentially prepaid estimated sales tax that is collected at the time of building permit issuance. The tax increased 71.15 percent from November 2004 to November 2005, and year-to-date it increased 44.4 percent.

The numbers reflect an increase in building activity, Taylor said. Also, he said, valuations have increased, which may affect the tax results.

--o reach Dana Strongin, call 871-4229

or e-mail dstrongin@steamboatpilot.com.

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