REI opening pushes Dillon ahead in sales tax revenue; Frisco sees dip in marijuana sector |

REI opening pushes Dillon ahead in sales tax revenue; Frisco sees dip in marijuana sector

Dillon’s sales-tax receipts exploded in August, jumping 19 percent, compared to the same month last year. However, a town finance official explains that much of the spike can be attributed to two developments, namely the opening of the REI store at 306 Dillon Ridge Road in May coupled with the closing of Sports Authority in July 2016.
Eli Pace / |

Summit County came through the last month of summer with Breckenridge, Frisco and Silverthorne showing relatively standard rates of growth in their sales-tax receipts.

However, none came close to matching the wild, almost 20 percent increase Dillon had in August, compared to August 2016.

While Silverthorne, Frisco and Breckenridge were all up 2.1 to 3.5 percent in month-over-month, sales-tax comparisons, Dillon’s 19 percent spike was the highest increase the town’s seen so far this year and a stone’s throw from the 20 percent clip Breckenridge posted last May, typically the slowest month of the year across Summit County.

Much of Dillon’s dramatic increase can be explained by the Sport Authority store closing in July 2016 and a new REI store opening last May, said Carri McDonnell, the town’s finance director.

With Sports Authority’s closure, the store stopped collecting sales taxes in August 2016. Then REI opened last May, and as a result, this August marked the first month for which there was no comparative.

“We are up, but that’s why (it’s almost 20 percent),” McDonnell said, adding that the town has experienced less dramatic growth throughout 2017 with the addition of other businesses, sales-tax receipts continue to trend upward and Dillon’s economy remains strong, much like the rest of Summit County.

Overall, Dillon is tracking about $100,000 ahead in a year-to-date comparison with over $4.1 million in sales taxes collected so far this year.

Previously, Dillon’s best month of the year had been May, when there was an 11 percent increase compared to May 2016.

Frisco’s pot drop

At the same time Dillon saw an almost 20 percent spike, Frisco’s marijuana sales declined in two consecutive months for the first time since recreational pot became legal in January 2014.

According to Frisco’s latest sales tax report, marijuana sales — entirely dependent on two dispensaries on opposite sides of Summit Boulevard — had experienced steady to dramatic growth every month this year compared to the same months in 2016.

Most notably, last July’s pot sales were 6.7 percent behind July 2016, and August came in 0.6 percent behind August 2016. The only other time Frisco had a month-over-month decrease in pot sales prior to this summer came in November 2016, when sales were about four-fifths what they were in November 2015. Every other month on record, pot sales in Frisco have increased.

While marijuana sales slipped, Frisco saw increases in a wide range of other sectors, including hotels and inns, vacation rentals, grocery, automotive, clothing, furnishing, gift, home improvement, office and utility.

Of those, home improvement, grocery and vacation rentals led the way with the highest rate of increases — between 15 and 20 percent — while two of the town’s most profitable sectors — restaurants and retail — were down by smaller clips. Overall, Frisco is tracking 5.8 percent ahead year-to-date with August sales taxes 2.1 percent ahead of August 2016.

Boosting Breck’s budget

In Breckenridge, August showed better results than July did, compared to the same months in 2016, with the town looking at $40 million in sales taxes, a 2.8 percent increase compared to August 2016.

August marked a return to the standard growth rates seen across much of Summit County after a lackluster July in which Breckenridge was up only 0.4 percent, compared to July 2016.

The retail, marijuana, restaurant and bar, and short-term lodging sectors in Breckenridge all saw growth from 3 to 6 percent. Grocery and liquor was up less dramatically at 1.5 percent, and construction saw the lowest rate of increase for August at 0.4 percent, compared to the same month last year.

According to the town’s monthly finance report, September’s totals are largely reflective of August’s sales-tax collections, and Breckenridge is tracking ahead of both budgeted and prior year totals in a year-to-date comparison.

Additionally, the town is about $3 million over 2017 budgeted revenues for the town’s excise fund, which is largely reflective of Breckenridge’s real estate-transfer tax coming in $1.6 million over budget and $801,000 over 2017 year to date.

Silvy soaks it up

Next to Dillon, Silverthorne had the next-highest August increase at 3.5 percent, compared to August 2016.

That put Silverthorne up 6.7 percent year to date, and the town’s on pace to finish 2017 with its second-highest year-to-date increase over the last five years.

The Silverthorne Outlets, one of the town’s biggest economic engines that’s responsible for about one-fifth of Silverthorne’s overall sales-tax collections, had been slightly behind throughout much of 2017 after suffering a handful of store closures.

However, new stores are coming in at the Outlets — the newest addition is Blue Valley Ski and Snowboards — and the Outlets are now up 0.5 percent year to date with August coming in 1.4 percent ahead of August 2016.

Year to date, Silverthorne is seeing growth — sometimes as high as 17 percent — in every sector, save automotive.

For example, Silverthorne’s building retail category is up 16 percent while consumer retail is up 5 percent, food and liquor are up 7 percent, lodging is up 17 percent and service industries are up 16 percent.

Silverthorne’s building retail category had the largest dollar increase in August, followed by lodging, while auto was down about $11,000 or 14 percent.

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