Hayden sales tax income decreases from 2009 | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden sales tax income decreases from 2009

Jack Weinstein

— Hayden's July sales tax collection figures, released Tuesday, show a 14 percent decrease year to date from 2009.

The 14 percent decrease re­­flects more than $18,000 less in revenue than the town had forecast for this point in the year. Hayden had forecast a 10 percent sales tax decrease in the 2010 budget from 2009.

Finance Director Lisa Dowl­ing said Hayden had expected the sales tax collection figures to be bad, but staff members were shocked that they were so low.

Dowling said if the sales taxes continue to decrease in excess of the forecast, she estimated that Hayden would be $40,000 to $45,000 off its 2010 projection. But she said there were several reasons the town isn't worried about its operations screeching to a halt.

"We didn't budget anything for the car rental use tax that passed in November," Dowling said about the 3.5 percent car rental tax voters approved last fall. "That wasn't included in the budget. We expect to get $100,000 from that. That's on top of sales tax. There are going to be additional revenues that weren't budgeted that will help make up the difference in sales tax."

The car rental tax has generated $86,525 for the town, including more than $22,000 each in January, February and March, the first three months of the tax, which coincided with the winter tourist season. By comparison, the tax generated nearly $11,000 in April and just more than $2,000 in May.

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Some Hayden business owners reported a dip in their sales, but not to the extent that the town's sales tax collections have decreased.

Herman Venzke, who owns A-1 Liquor at East Jefferson Avenue and Walnut Street, said to date his store's sales are down 7 percent from 2009 — a record year. He said the store saw sales increase in each of the four years he's owned it until this year.

"I would say our normal base of customers for Hayden has stayed right there," Venzke said, attributing that to customer service. "It's the commuter workers that have dropped off."

Jim Folley, owner of Hayden Mat and Frame on West Jefferson Avenue in Hayden's historic downtown district, said his business would be down one week, only to bounce back the next.

"It hasn't been increasing, by any means, but I haven't seen a large decrease," he said.

Folley said when customers visit Hayden Mat and Frame from Steamboat Springs or Craig, they usually stop and eat in town and vice versa. He said more downtown businesses would increase foot traffic for existing retailers.

So far, Hayden has collected $478,340 in sales tax. The town's 2010 budget projects $769,500 in sales tax collections.

July's sales tax figures, which reflect May sales — there is a two-month lag — came in at nearly $44,000, a 13 percent decrease from the same month last year. Dowling said July was the second lowest sales tax collection month since January 2004.

Sales taxes reported in June (for April sales) and May (for March sales) were down at least 18 percent from last year. But April sales tax figures, reflecting February sales, were down less than 10 percent from 2009. Dowling said that was a result of businesses at Yampa Valley Regional Airport filing sales taxes only on a quarterly basis, which were due in February.

Dowling said an indicator for Hayden's projected collections is the percentage of sales taxes generated at the airport, which accounts for about 50 percent of the town's annual revenue from sales.

For instance, sales taxes collected during January, February and March account for about 60 percent of the town's revenue each month. Airport sales tax collections in April dipped to 37 percent and in May to 15 percent, which was a 3 percent decline from the previous year.

Dowling said the town also would realize some savings after Town Manager Russ Martin's last day Aug. 7. Martin accepted the town manager position in Camp Verde, Ariz. Dowling said Martin estimated that savings at about $10,000.

Hayden Mayor Lorraine John­son said the town likely would go without a town manager for the immediate future because five members of the Town Council are up for re-election in November. They are Johnson, Chuck Grobe, Jim Haskins, Tim Redmond and Tom Rogalski.

She said the town would wait because if seats on the Town Council change, those members would be working with the new town manager. But Johnson said council members could accelerate their decision to hire a new town manager if they all return.

"It's not going to be a fast process," she said.

Johnson said more information about how Hayden will address replacing Martin would be discussed at Thursday's Town Council meeting.

Hayden sales tax collections*

Month / 2009 / 2010 / Percent change

January / $50,403 / $44,683 / -11.3 percent

February / $73,005 / $74,938 / 2.6 percent

March / $109,910 / $85,771 / -22 percent

April / $98,785 / $89,064 / -9.8 percent

May / $108,780 / $88,461 / -18.7 percent

June / $62,719 / $51,434 / -18 percent

July / $50,577 / $43,989 / -13 percent

*Figures each month reflect sales taxes collected two months before

Source: Town of Hayden

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