Summit County sales come through mud season on top |

Summit County sales come through mud season on top

Drivers pass the Residence Inn by Marriot at 600 S. Ridge St. on Friday in Breckenridge. Town finance officials credited the new hotel with helping drive up May’s sales figures, which came in almost 20 percent ahead of the same month last year for the town. Less dramatic rises were seen in Silverthorne, Frisco and Dillon.
Eli Pace / |

May sales tax reports

2016YTD 2017YTD Difference

Breckenridge $14,242,609 $14,492,845 1.76 percent

Silverthorne $3,826,569 $4,095,234 7.02 percent

Frisco $3,366,041 $3,582,956 6.44 percent

Dillon $2,578,274 $2,543,923 -1.3 percent

Sources: Frisco and Silverthorne finance officials and financial reports presented to Breckenridge and Dillon town councils.

Note: Breckenridge general sales tax rate includes the 2.5 percent town sales tax and 1.93 percent county sales tax distributed to the town, an additional 3.4 percent accommodation tax on the short-term lodging sector and an additional 5 percent tax with the 1.5 percent distribution from the state also included in marijuana sector.

If there’s a ceiling on the local economy’s worst month of the year, Breckenridge, Silverthorne, Dillon and Frisco haven’t yet found it. Record sales and sales tax collections were reported across Summit County for May.

With sales fluctuating wildly throughout the seasons — especially here in tourist-rich ski country — it’s misleading to compare any month to another in the same year. Instead, it’s far better to track the numbers by measuring one month against the same month in previous years or lining up year-to-date figures.

For May, the most recent month for which all four Summit County towns’ sales and sales tax reports were available, the slowest month of the year turned out to be a banner mud season.

May’s sales in Summit County remain a long way from eclipsing those from any other month of the year, but that’s to be expected. Furthermore, compared to May 2016, it’s across-the-board growth in every town with gains in nearly every sector, save a few, isolated declines.

In Frisco, for starters, the overall sales taxes collected climbed 8.8 percent in May to finish at $497,922.

Meanwhile, Silverthorne experienced even greater growth for May, reporting $726,443 in sales taxes, an almost 9.1 percent jump compared to May 2016.

Dillon too had a record May with 7 percent growth compared to the same month last year, but Breckenridge might have outdone them all with May’s taxable sales coming in a whopping 18.5 percent ahead of May 2016 at $20.9 million.

Coming in with gains of 1.8 to 7 percent compared to last year, Breckenridge’s, Frisco’s and Silverthorne’s year-to-date sales may be a little less rosy than May’s growth comparisons, but they are all up.

Breck report

The dramatic increase in Breckenridge was attributed, in part, to an audit assessment that led to a significant spike in construction sales, with the local industry recording almost $5 million in total sales last May, more than doubling the amount from May 2016.

In other news, lodging was up 27.4 percent in Breckenridge, largely attributed to several conferences being hosted in town and the opening of a new hotel, the Residence Inn by Marriott.

On the downbeat side of the ledger, Breckenridge retail sales lagged 4.8 percent behind May 2016’s total, while grocery and liquor sales were a bit brighter and skipped to a 4.6 percent increase. Additionally, marijuana sales saw a more modest 2.9 percent rise compared to the same month last year.

Also, several new restaurants opened in 2017 and fewer closed for the off-season, according to Breckenridge finance officials. They believe those two factors combined to help the town’s restaurant sales increase by 15.2 percent overall compared to May 2016.

Making up the difference

In Silverthorne, the Outlets and auto sales were down a little over $30,000 combined in their year-to-date sales. However, year-to-date growth in the building retail (21.8 percent), consumer retail (4.6 percent), food and liquor (8.5 percent), lodging (13.6 percent), and service industries (12.5 percent) more than made up the difference.

While the Outlets have struggled this year with a couple store losses, the town is reporting the new co-op art gallery, High Country ARTisans, is doing quite well in its location at the Outlets, and Blue Valley Ski and Snowboards is working on moving into the storefront once occupied by Gymboree, a children’s clothing retailer which closed its doors for good earlier this year as the company navigates through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Silverthorne doesn’t release figures for individual businesses, and so marijuana sales at High Country Healing, the town’s only pot shop, are hidden in another sales category.

Frisco’s figures

With two pot shops in town, Frisco does report its numbers, and its retail marijuana sales continued tearing through 2017 with another big increase, jumping 8.8 percent this May compared to May 2016.

Also, the town’s liquor sales were up 6 percent, but restaurants (up 13.1 percent), grocery (up 19.4 percent), lodging (down 2.67 percent) and general retail (down 1.3 percent) go much further in supporting town coffers.

Much less impactful, but interesting nonetheless because of their sharp sales taxes, Frisco’s vacation rentals increased more than seven fold in May compared to May 2016. Considering they only registered a meager $946 in taxes collected that month, however, there was clearly plenty of room to grow.

YTD down in Dillon

For Dillon, May’s sales taxes saw an increase of 7 percent, or $25,767 overall, compared to May 2016, but year-to-date taxes remain down 1.3 percent, or $34,351, overall.

On the bright side, the town’s year-to-date sales taxes from its restaurants (up 13 percent at $480,465) and lodging industry (up 21.7 percent at $233,107) hit at all-time highs for May.

On the other hand, retail sales took a 14 percent dip compared to May 2016 and are down 11 percent ($189,322) in a year-to-date comparison.

The decline in retail was attributed to losses of businesses at Dillon Ridge and Anemone. However, Dillon Ridge did see a slight uptick in May, and the town is seeing retail growth in other places.

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