Breckenridge sees ‘less bad’ July revenues | SummitDaily.com

Breckenridge sees ‘less bad’ July revenues

ROBERT ALLEN
summit daily news

BRECKENRIDGE – Town of Breckenridge tax revenue in July was “less bad” than previous months, down about 12 percent (at $1.14 million) from July 2008, said Brian Waldes, town financial services manager.

To date in 2009, tax collections have averaged about 18 percent less than 2008.

Waldes said he continues to expect town revenue by the end of the year to be about $2 million to $3 million below the 2009 budget (of $17.9 million), but that hopefully July’s improved numbers reflect a trend “that continues into ski season.”

The July sales tax collections were reportedly only 1.6 percent below that of 2008, but Waldes said factors such as businesses paying their sales taxes from a previous month can skew that statistic.

“There are so many factors that go into the cash collections numbers that I wouldn’t call that a recovery,” he said.

The town in the past year has created an estimated $2.7 million in savings through cuts and attrition of employees without having to lay people off. It’s possible the cuts may prevent the town from having to dip into reserves, according to a previous report in the Summit Daily.

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Compared with seven ski communities across the state, Breckenridge and Winter Park are doing a bit better than the rest.

From July 2008 to July 2009, Breckenridge sales and use tax collected fell 15.4 percent. In Vail, the numbers fell 16.2 percent and in Aspen they fell 18.2 percent. Winter Park saw the least drop at 11.2 percent.

Waldes said it’s too early to tell whether town revenue in August was affected by the Breck 150 events.

Breckenridge town councilman Eric Mamula said at Tuesday’s work session he noticed a revenue 12 percent increase at his two restaurants the weekend of the town’s 150th anniversary over the same weekend in 2008.

“I was not a believer – but after that weekend I sure was,” he said. “It was a monster for my two places.”

He and others suggested making a tradition of a heritage-related event part of the town’s calendar each year between Fourth of July and Oktoberfest.

The Breck 150 events – more than two years in the making – drew thousands of people over the summer. Though attendance numbers, website visits and sponsor contributions fell short of the goals, council members said they were pleased with the results.

“I think the product they put out was great,” councilman Dave Rossi said, adding that there’s a strong argument for marketing Breckenridge as a heritage tourism destination. “Those goals were set before the world came crashing down a year ago.”

Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or rallen@summitdaily.com.