Steamboat Springs Hayden collected 21.6 percent more sales tax revenues in May 2011 than the corresponding month last year, according to figures released by the town last week.
Finance Director Lisa Dowling said the $106,606, which reflects sales taxes collected in March, exceeded the sales tax revenue of $88,461 collected during the same period in 2010. She said 66 percent of that revenue came directly from airport-related activities, mostly rental cars, reflecting a strong ski season of travelers through Yampa Valley Regional Airport.
Hayden has a two-month lag between when sales taxes are collected and when they are recorded as revenues.
“I think this was all due to the brisk business in March,” Dowling said about the increase. “Steamboat also realized some nice revenues that month. It’s definitely based on tourism.”
May’s figures marked the West Routt County town’s third double-digit increase this year in monthly revenues, compared to the corresponding month a year ago. The figures also marked the fourth time in five months that 2011 sales tax revenues exceeded revenues during the corresponding month in 2010.
Because of that trend, Dowling said, the pace of sales tax collections in 2011 is ahead of 2010 by 10 percent, or $42,350. Hayden collected more than $747,000 in sales taxes in all of 2010, about $22,000 less than what the town budgeted.
While the strong ski season benefited Hayden, local retailers had mixed opinions about how it affected their businesses.
Double Barrel Steakhouse owner Ann Marie Roberts said the restaurant’s business has been up and down since opening just more than a year ago. Roberts said the restaurant didn’t see an increase in business, but she’s optimistic for the summer.
“I think right now we’re getting a little better,” she said.
Hayden Mat and Frame owner Jim Folley said April was a little slow, but he had nothing to complain about during the four or five months before that. He said from November through March, he did one-third more business than during the previous ski season.
Folley said he’s doing better than at this point last year.
“Personally, my business is doing fine,” he said. “I’m kind of excited about this year, to be honest with you.
“I can’t speak for the rest of Hayden.”
Dowling said it would likely be some time before Hayden approaches the more than $1.12 million collected in 2008, but this year’s sales tax revenue is helping the town get back on its feet.
She said Hayden is building up its reserves, something it wasn’t in a position to do at this time last year. And Dowling said the sales tax revenue could allow Hayden to include some capital projects and improvements in the 2012 budget.
“We’ve pretty much been an operations-only budget for the last two years,” she said. “We’re hoping to move forward.
“We have roads that need to be repaired and equipment that needs to be replaced.”
— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com