Construction hurts sales

October sales tax figures slump around ski base

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At a glance

- Total sales tax revenues

October 2007 - $1,276,010

October 2006 - $1,139,648

Percent change - 11.97

- Sales tax year-to-date

January to September 2007 - $16,051,667

January to September 2006 - $14, 720,191

Percent change - 9.05

— Sales tax revenue from lodging businesses and the mountain area dropped in October, showing decreases attributed to ongoing construction projects.

Steamboat Springs' sales, building use and accommodation taxes for October grew upon their 2006 levels. Year-to-date figures are showing gains as well, with total sales tax collection up 9.05 percent, a gain of nearly half a percentage point since September, according to sales tax figures released by the city Tuesday.

But sales tax revenue from the mountain area was down 12.75 percent in October, with the city taking in only $71,524, compared to $81,977 in 2006. Lodging revenue also experienced a slight decrease, dipping 1.37 percent to $68,527.

"With all of the construction up there, we've actually been expecting it," city revenue supervisor Kim Weber said. "It kind of corresponds with lodging being down, as well."

The city's building use tax collection in October increased by more than 4,000 percent - from $64,832 in 2006 to $2,747,688. While the building use tax is expected to fluctuate, October's huge gains were simply due to payments coming in from a number of large construction projects, Weber said.

Sales tax stemming from utilities in October decreased 6.24 percent from 2006, which is attributed to this year's comparatively mild temperatures, Weber said.

With a 24.35 percent increase from October 2006, West Steamboat posted the largest margin of growth in town and experienced its second straight month of significant gains. September figures were up 14.36 percent after being close to stagnant in August, when sales tax revenue rose only 0.32 percent over the previous year.

While mountain figures are slipping, the downtown area has rebounded from slumps earlier this year. Downtown sales tax figures posted four straight months of losses in spring and early summer before beginning to recover in July.

Sales tax revenue from downtown increased 10.26 percent in October, rising to $557,421, compared to $505,558 in 2006. Main Street Steamboat Springs Executive Director Tracy Barnett said she is optimistic about downtown's progress in recent months, but tentative about current sales levels.

"I've been hearing that the Christmas sales are not going great, but we'll have to see what happens when the December numbers come out," Barnett said.

Compared to other Colorado resort communities, Steamboat Springs slightly trails Snowmass and Breckenridge in year-to-date gains, but it is ahead of Winter Park, Aspen and Vail. In addition to posting the largest year-to-date sales tax gain of 10.47 percent, Snowmass also showed the largest increase for the month of October, with revenue rising by 33.03 percent compared to 2006.

Comments

2007 7 years ago

In the opening sentence, why do you say the decreases in Steamboat are due to construction then state that Winter Park, Aspen and Vail have worse sales figures than Steamboat? Are they having the same level of construction? I don't know, but there is a lot of belt-tightening all over the US with rising gas prices and other prices increasing. I would doubt it is all due to construction. I have bought less this year than in the past and will buy very few things for Christmas. Frankly, the high sales tax in Steamboat makes me think twice about some purchases, especially the high ticket ones. Buying in Steamboat makes an article cost almost 9 percent more and sometimes, it is just not worth it.

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Scott Wedel 7 years ago

The article is blaming construction for the decrease of sales tax on the mountain, not for Steamboat in general.

And note that the mountain area did $71K while downtown did $505K, so the old mountain retail sales has become largely irrelevant.

Which makes me wonder why does an article on SB sales tax lead paragraph talks about sales tax revenue declining by $10K in one area and the last area mentioned is the one with the most revenue that increased $50K.

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