Steamboat sales tax dips 6 percent in March

Figures show slightly larger decrease than expected

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March sales tax numbers

■ Total collections in March 2008: $2,570,231

■ Total collections in March 2009: $2,022,088

■ Total collections in March 2010: $1,901,035

■ Percent change, March 2009 to March 2010: -6

Category March 2009 March 2010 Percent change

Misc. retail $731,449 $691,804 -5.4

Lodging and Amenities $548,067 $488,667 -10.8

Sporting goods $182,149 $187,033 +2.7

Utilities $182,337 $177,006 -2.9

Restaurants $318,687 $300,061 -5.8

Liquor stores $59,399 $56,465 -4.9

Area March 2009 March 2010 Percent change

Downtown $320,431 $315,663 -1.5

Base area $701,034 $671,478 -4.2

U.S. 40 corridor $602,022 $552,317 -8.3

Regional $259,290 $224,542 -13.4

West Steamboat $139,311 $137,035 -1.6

Source: City of Steamboat Springs, in a preliminary report that is subject to change after full collections are received.

— After a relatively encouraging February, March sales tax figures showed more of a decrease than at least one city official expected.

The city collected a total of $1,901,035 in March sales tax revenue, compared to $2,022,088 in March 2009, according to a preliminary report released Monday. March collections were the month’s lowest in Steamboat since 2004. The collections put Steamboat’s year-to-date total at $5,692,289, which is 5.5 percent below the first three months of 2009 but within the city’s budget projections.

The city has budgeted a 10 percent decrease in sales tax revenues for 2010. That decrease is on top of the 18 percent decrease budgeted in 2009.

February sales tax collections dipped just 3 percent compared to February 2009.

But city revenue supervisor Kim Weber noted that Feb­­ruary’s sales tax figures were slightly misleading because they included about $75,000 from sales-taxable items discovered during a building-use tax reconciliation process with a large downtown development.

Still, city officials had hoped February indicated not only some breathing room in the budget, but also a boost in local sales that could carry into March.

“We didn’t anticipate going down 6 percent,” Finance Director Debra Hinsvark said Monday about the March figures.

Sales tax revenues from spor­­ting goods continued to show a modest gain, however, increaseing nearly 3 percent in March compared to March 2009 and matching the category’s increase seen in February.

But the local lodging industry continued its winter-long struggles, following an 11.5 percent drop in February sales tax revenue with a 10.8 percent decrease in March.

The last time city sales tax collections showed an increase from the corresponding month from the previous year was August 2008, when the city collected about $45,000 more than it did in August 2007. Every month since then, sales tax collections have been less than those from the same month a year earlier.

“Unfortunately, (sales tax collections) still indicate a decline in the strength of the local economy — especially when you consider that decline was in addition to the decline from the same month a year ago,” City Manager Jon Roberts said. “It’s a decline on top of a decline.”

Comments

Scott Wedel 4 years, 7 months ago

“It’s a decline on top of a decline.”

Also known as a downward spiral.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 7 months ago

What is going on in the finance dept? Incredibly easy to anticipate March sales tax going down 6% And obviously the city accepts that a default has occurred because they are going to transfer $3.75M from the reserve to cover the default

I would hope that a competent finance dept would have noticed the consequences of the school board action, the resulting "no cushion" and known something about US Bank having issues with the URA bond before receiving a notice of default.

Is this dept really that inept?

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