Sales tax collections fall 16.5 percent

May decline reveals dip in retail sales, overall drop in west Steamboat


— Steamboat Springs' sales tax collections decreased by 16.5 percent for May, one of the city's slowest months.

April and May traditionally pull the lowest amount of sales tax income, city Revenue Supervisor Kim Weber said, so the decrease in May didn't have a huge impact on year-to-date revenue. Total collections for May were $899,024, compared with about $1.08 million in May 2008. The city's general fund is down about 12.4 percent for the year.

"We still are falling within our budget, so we're not overly concerned with that number because it is one of our smaller months," Weber said. "We don't have to make any additional cuts to our budget because of that fall in sales tax."

The city has cut its budget to align with an expected 18 to 19 percent decrease in sales tax collections compared with 2008.

The May 2009 sales tax report released by the city Wednesday reveals that the biggest decreases came in the miscellaneous retail category and in the western Steamboat area. No categories or regions saw an increase in sales tax collections for May.

The numbers represent the ninth consecutive month of decreases. The March collections took the biggest hit percentage-wise, decreasing by 22.5 percent compared with March 2008.

All collections came to the general fund because the Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority brought in $0 in sales tax collections.

Sales tax collections for miscellaneous retail, which doesn't include sporting goods or alcohol, decreased by 19.7 percent in May. That represented a drop from $658,848 in May 2008 to $528,928 in May 2009.

"There's a lot of different industries lumped into that miscellaneous retail number, and it's just an overall decrease in spending," Weber said. "Retail outlets are probably taking one of the biggest hits."

The retail category brought in far more money than any other for the month. Sporting goods, for example, garnered 19.5 percent less money in sales tax collections than in May 2008, but that amounted to a drop from $41,409 last May to $33,319 this May.

The city measures sales tax collections by area, as well as by category, and western Steamboat took a major hit. Collections in the region fell by 33.1 percent, from $235,043 in May 2008 to $157,240 in May 2009.

Weber attributed that to a decrease in new construction.

"A lot of the industry out there is geared toward construction, and that has fallen significantly," she said. "You can really tell because of our building-use taxes, as well. I believe that's a big sector out there, and that took a big hit this month."

The building-use tax collections decreased a whopping 70.5 percent, from $259,277 in May 2008 to $76,443 in May 2009.

The U.S. Highway 40 corridor, which doesn't include downtown, brought in the most money and took less of a blow. Collections there decreased by 9.9 percent, from $446,161 in May 2008 to $401,800 in May 2009.

Year-to-date general fund collections are about $7.5 million, compared with about $8.6 million this time last year.


aichempty 7 years, 8 months ago

Harry Chapin had a song about the dance band on the Titanic.

I think it applies here.


housepoor 7 years, 8 months ago

The one thing nobody is talking about is the effect on sale tax revenue that the reduction in local population and the income of permanent residents has had.


seeuski 7 years, 8 months ago

But we'll have free health care soon. And our electric bills will be going up too, along with a 70 cent per gallon Global Warming fuel tax increase. That will help with the sales tax revenues, oh wait, the Feds are going to add a VAT tax to pay for some of those things. Higher prices for consumers, yea that will work. How is the national unemployment numbers looking? Anyone for a new stimulus package? But don't worry, they'll fix it all by taxing the remaining rich even more. But wait, those are the people who come to Steamboat and spend money in our stores and restaurants. Change we can see and feel.


challange1 7 years, 8 months ago

Let me see if I got this straight, sales tax is down 16.5 percent, right? The city had a feeling that this would happen so they put employees on furloughs and cut a bunch employees pay and took what they said to be the appropriate action, right? So WHY are they putting $400,000 into a city owned building AND adding to their "Hybrid Bus Fleet" at a cost that I am sure is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars? It sure seems to me that the priorities are a little mixed up right now. But that is just my opinion.


JustSomeJoe 7 years, 8 months ago

seeuski's fiddle only plays one tune. Unfortunately, that one tune is old, tired and predictable. Give it a rest already. We know what you blame everything on. I think folks know what your reaction is to most stories, so you really don't need to post so much.


greenwash 7 years, 8 months ago

Who and what does this Steve Hoots guy do for 90K per year.

Why did city fire longtime employee jim weber?

who authorized spending 200K on digging out old sewage ponds behind new courthouse for skatepark?

Who authorized moving skatepark closer to residential area than was first originally planned?

Just wondering...


seeuski 7 years, 8 months ago

Obviously you don't like the tunes playing out of Washington. Sorry to have pointed out the problem with the downturn of sales tax receipts. You can't really say it is still Bush calling for all of this socialist spending, can you?


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