Final 2011 sales tax report confirms growth in Steamboat |

Final 2011 sales tax report confirms growth in Steamboat

Jack Weinstein

— Steamboat Springs' 2011 sales tax collections increased about $12,000, to $17.3 million, in a final revenue report released by the city Thursday.

The report indicates that sales tax revenues increased nearly 4.4 percent in 2011 from what was collected by the city in 2010. That amounts to more than $700,000.

Because the city budgeted for a 10 percent decline in 2011, it actually collected in excess of $2.7 million more than the nearly $14.6 million it projected to generate in sales taxes last year.

The Steamboat Springs City Council approved a supplemental budget request in July to use nearly $750,000 in excess revenue to pay for some unexpected higher costs of providing services. Some of the revenue paid for increased fuel costs, additional snowplowing and mitigation for last year's high spring runoff. Additional revenues also supported the Bike Town USA Initiative and paid for capital expenditures at the Mountain Fire Station, for the Transit and Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services departments and for unplanned maintenance.

After the preliminary report was released, Finance Director Kim Weber said she was optimistic about this year's sales taxes based on collections in 2011. That hasn't changed.

"I continue to think we are on the uphill slope, but continue to be conservative with that, as well," she said Thursday. "So I hope to see small increases each month going forward. Again, I don't think we'll see a windfall of sales taxes."

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The city has budgeted sales taxes to decrease 5 percent this year from 2011's numbers. The January sales tax report won't be available until early March.

December 2011 sales tax revenues of more than $2.3 million exceeded those collected in December 2010 by nearly 3.7 percent. There also was a 0.5 percent bump from the preliminary December revenue report released earlier this month.

December was the eighth consecutive month and ninth overall in 2011 for which sales tax collections exceeded those from the corresponding month in 2010.

The city separates sales tax collections by category (miscellaneous retail, lodging and amenities, sporting goods, utilities, restaurants and liquor stores) and location (downtown, base area, U.S. Highway 40 corridor, regional and west Steamboat).

Collections in every area and in all but one category (sporting goods) increased in December 2011 from December 2010, according to the report.

The revenue report also includes building use taxes. December's building use tax report was highlighted by a refund of more than $365,000 to the developers of One Steamboat Place. Contractors pay the 4.5 percent tax based on an estimated cost of materials for their projects. If the estimate is too high, the city issues a refund.

Although building use taxes declined by 22 percent in 2011, the city still collected nearly $450,000 after not budgeting to collecting any.

To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email

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