Steamboat Springs The global economy is on the slow track to growth, and with it, Steamboat Springs’ sales tax revenue continues to grow as well.
City Director of Financial Services Kim Weber gave a presentation at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting that outlined how the city reached its budget projection of 2 percent growth in sales tax revenue.
Weber said the 2 percent figure is a conservative estimate of the improvement the city can hope to see next year. The number could be between 3 and 4 percent by the end of 2014, she said.
As of April, 2013’s collections are outpacing 2012’s by 5.75 percent. Other mountain communities have seen even higher sales tax growth. Winter Park, Breckenridge and Vail all are reporting sales tax revenue in excess of 10 percent over last year.
City Council member Walter Magill said some of the additional revenue could be added to reserves or directed toward items on the capital improvement plan. There’s a need for this money there, Magill said.
City Council President Bart Kounovsky said a new revenue number doesn’t mean a larger expenditure figure. He said the go ahead has not been given for the size of government to grow along with revenues.
City Council member Sonja Macys expressed an interest in looking at some of the needs that have been neglected in leaner years during the upcoming budget season.
She questioned whether the current budget process was the best way to address the city’s needs. The city could look at what its needs are and then try to find revenue streams to meet those needs, Macys said, adding that maybe the City Council should re-examine some of its priorities.
The City Council also considered an ordinance allowing portable signs in downtown Steamboat during the summer. The issue was raised during discussion about why the ordinance applied only to downtown businesses when others across the city also might want to use portable signs in public rights-of-way. Planning Director Tyler Gibbs said the ordinance before City Council was only a trial, and a fuller look at sidewalk use across the city would be coming in the fall.
The City Council unanimously approved the ordinance on first reading, and Kounovsky said he'd be open to hearing about other zones being included during the second reading.
To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com