Steamboat Springs’ December sales tax revenues fall by more than 6 percent |

Steamboat Springs’ December sales tax revenues fall by more than 6 percent

Brent Boyer

— The city of Steamboat Springs' biggest sales tax revenue month of the year experienced its most significant year-over-year decline, according to a preliminary sales tax report released Thursday afternoon.

December 2012 sales tax revenues fell 6.24 percent as compared to December 2011 revenues, representing a decrease of almost $146,000. December's final figures still could adjust upward when the city releases its final revenue report for the month in a couple of weeks.

Buoyed by the ramp up of the new ski season and the Christmas and New Year's holiday periods, December typically is Steamboat's strongest revenue month of the year, followed closely by March. Many local business owners say a strong December can make or break their entire year.

A lack of snow through November and into the first half of December hurt holiday bookings at many Steamboat Springs lodging properties. Although heavy snow for the second half of the month picked up spirits and business, some resort officials said the net effect would be increased reservations for later in the ski season.

December 2012 sales tax revenues decreased in every major category except one — sporting goods. The miscellaneous retail, lodging and amenities, utilities, restaurants, and liquor stores categories each saw year-over-year decreases in revenues.

Despite the overall drop-off from 2011, December 2012 sales tax revenues remained higher than any other month of the year.

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Based on December's preliminary results, the city finished the 2012 budget year 0.98 percent ahead of 2011 in terms of sales tax revenues. And because the city budgeted for an overall revenue decrease of 7.2 percent in 2012, officials expect to finish the year about 8 percent ahead of their conservative projection.

In a news release that accompanied Thursday's preliminary December sales tax report, city officials said that because of the "large quantity of monthly, quarterly and annual returns that come due in January, there are currently a large number of unfiled returns, which could possibly improve our final collections."

December's preliminary sales tax report also included figures from other city of Steamboat Springs tax revenue sources:

  • Building use tax collections were $46,810 in December. The city posted a net loss of $297,985 in December 2011 building use tax collections as a result of use tax reconciliation payment. The city's 2012 total use tax collections are $556,177, a 7.58 percent increase over 2011's $516,982.
  • The city's 1 percent accommodations, or lodging, tax collected $98,733 in December 2012, an 11.24 percent decrease from December 2011. Year-to-date collections fell 1.6 percent to $645,182. Accommodations tax revenues are used to pay off the Haymaker Golf Course debt, which is set to expire in 2014. The city currently is evaluating eight proposals for how to spend lodging tax revenues in future years.
  • The first year of a 0.25 percent general sales tax dedicated to funding ski season flight service to Yampa Valley Regional Airport finished 2012 with $1,045,283. The tax collected $137,042 in December.

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