Lodging boosts business

Sales tax revenue up for downtown, mountain area

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At a glance

- Total sales tax revenues

September 2007 - $1,499,744

September 2006 - $1,307,432

Percent change - 10.88

- Sales Tax Year-to-Date

January to September 2007 - $14,757,056

January to September 2006 - $13,580,543

Percent change - 8.66

— The mountain area and downtown Steamboat Springs are continuing to recover from the sales slump experienced earlier this year, with gains in lodging revenue contributing a significant boost.

Steamboat's sales, building use and accommodation taxes for September all grew upon 2006 levels. Year-to-date figures are showing gains as well, with total sales tax collection up 8.66 percent compared to last year, according to sales tax figures released by the city Thursday.

"The numbers were all up, which we were very happy with, showing significant growth," said Kim Weber, revenue supervisor for the city of Steamboat Springs.

Lodging posted the largest gain among spending categories, rising to $148,652, a gain of more than 28 percent from its September 2006 level of $116,129.

The rise in lodging sales tax played directly into the mountain area seeing a bigger increase than other areas of town, Weber said. Mountain sales tax revenues were up 21.23 percent from the same time period last year, rising from $140,047 to $169,783.

West Steamboat sales had the second highest gain, up 14.36 percent from September 2006, after nearly stagnant growth the previous month. In August, sales tax revenue rose only 0.32 percent from August 2006.

"West Steamboat was up more than last time, which probably has a lot to do with construction because of the type of businesses that are out on the west side of town," Weber said.

When both mountain and downtown sales tax figures slumped in the spring and early summer, many business owners blamed ongoing construction projects in both parts of the city. Downtown sales tax revenue posted four straight months of losses before beginning to recover in July.

"It's three good months," said Tracy Barnett, executive director of Mainstreet Steamboat Springs. "Not that this is a permanent thing, but it's certainly encouraging."

Barnett credited favorable fall weather for part of downtown's sales tax revenue gains.

Compared to other resort communities, Steamboat trails Breckenridge in year-to-date sales tax increases, with Breckenridge gaining 9.84 percent for January through September figures. However, Steamboat posted the greatest gain for September figures, rising 10.87 percent more than that month last year.

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