Breck tax revenues see big jump in April after a rough March
BRECKENRIDGE – Sales tax revenues in Breckenridge rebounded in April after months of stagnant growth, leaving town officials hoping it might be the beginning of a trend.”It’s definitely very encouraging,” said town auditing administrator Lance Hillis. “We have every reason to believe (this year) will be better than last year. But only time will tell.”The most significant change was seen in the short-term lodging sector, which has steadily declined since 1999.This April, hoteliers in town reported revenue of $3.781 million, bringing to the town coffers $75,610. That represents a 34 percent and 38 percent increase in revenue, respectively.”But if you read into the numbers, 38 percent, that’s fantastic, yes, but it’s significantly smaller dollar-wise than if we had (that increase) in March,” Hillis said. “If I could pick a month to have a 38 percent increase, I’d much rather have it be in March.”March is typically the strongest month of the ski season, but this year, it hit the skids. Most people believe a weak snow month – and March is typically the snowiest month of the year – is to blame.Retail sales were one of the hardest hit in April.Retailers in town reported sales of $3.702 million in April, down 4.5 percent from April 2003 – a month that already saw a significant drop in revenue. That number, however, is a 3 percent increase over the first four months of 2003 – but only $5,000 more than revenue reported in 1995.”Retail sales continue to show problems,” Hillis said. “And they’re terrible over a 10-year time period.”Overall sales tax revenue to the town was up 7.6 percent, to $614,458 over the same month last year. And it’s up 5.9 percent for the year, having brought in $4.573 million to town coffers.The Real Estate Transfer Tax collections, the sector that has kept Breckenridge fiscally afloat during the recent recession, brought $1.293 million to the town coffers – in the first half of June alone.Town financial officials are able to report RETT revenue immediately because it doesn’t get funneled through the state first. Other tax revenues are sent to the state before the town’s share is returned. That results in a six- to eight-week reporting delay.Restaurant and bar revenue saw a 13 percent increase over April 2003, with eatery owners reporting revenue of $3.48 million.Breckenridge finance officials also analyze the retail, restaurant and lodging sectors together to evaluate how tourism is faring.That category saw a 12-percent increase over April 2003, and a 4.7 percent increase over the four months of that year. Retailers reported overall sales of $10.968 million compared to 9.779 million in 2003. Other sectors, including grocery and liquor and construction supplies, also saw increases in April. Grocery and liquor sales generated $2.682 million for store owners, an increase of 10 percent over the same month last year.Construction supplies also saw a big jump – of almost 35 percent – from 805,000 last April to $1.086 million in April of this year.Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or at email@example.com.
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