Summit County sales tax revenue continues to climb |

Summit County sales tax revenue continues to climb

Sales tax revenue coming from marijuana sales has been on the rise this year.
Kailyn Lamb / |

Sales Tax Collected in 2016

Breckenridge: 13,088,667

Silverthorne: 6,764,615

Frisco: 5,717,950

Dillon: 4,074,831

Sales tax revenue continues to climb in Summit County.

Towns throughout the county saw increases for the month of August. Frisco led the way with an increase of 10.57 percent in year-to-date sales. Breckenridge saw a similarly high increase of 7.56 percent. Dillon’s year-to-date increase hit 5.28 percent, and Silverthorne’s bump in revenue was 3.27 percent.

Brian Waldes, the director of finance and information technology in Breckenridge, said that the continued growth is a good thing, but it can’t last forever.

“We keep wondering when the growth is going to stop,” he said.

For the month of August, Breckenridge saw an increase of 6.13 percent over last year. While Waldes said the growth was a substantial increase, that kind of “extreme robust growth” is also becoming “normal.” For comparison, August 2015 had a growth of 10 percent over the previous year, and in August 2014 the growth was 9 percent in Breckenridge.

Frisco also saw a large increase in revenue for the month of August, topping more than 15 percent. The month of August has seen a steady increase in revenue in the town since 2012.

“We are incredibly impressed with the business owners we have here,” said Chad Most, the revenue specialist in Frisco. “Governmental revenue obviously is completely dependent, especially here in Frisco with our reliance on sales tax, completely dependent on the strength of our business community.”

Silverthorne’s change was more moderate with a revenue increase of $19,124 — a 2 percent increase over 2015. While the town of Dillon did see an increase in year-to-date revenue, the month of August was $31,497 behind what it did last year.

Lodging Trends Continue

Lodging continues to be a high-ranking category bringing in revenue for Summit County towns. Frisco took a slight dip in hotel and inn numbers for August, falling $1,273 short of what the town did last year. However, the town is still up nearly 5 percent for its year-to-date revenue.

Short-term lodging in Breckenridge is up 10.15 percent for year-to-date numbers.

“Activity from lodging is almost half our revenue,” said Waldes.

While Silverthorne saw a more moderate increase in general revenue, lodging numbers tell a different story. Silverthorne’s revenue from lodging was $15,236 for the month of August, a little more than 53 percent up over last year. Kathy Marshall, the revenue administrator for the town, said that the town has also stepped up on short-term rental collection.

“We’ve dedicated a person to research and find people who are short-term renting on Airbnb and VRBO and then we give them a call and ask them to get a license and start collecting the remitting sales and lodging tax,” she said.

Lower Numbers

The Outlets at Silverthorne are continuing to see decreases in revenue, and are down $125,774 for year-to-date sales. Marshall said that a dip in August sales might be because the USA Pro Challenge came through last year, but was canceled this year.

Both Frisco and Breckenridge saw slight dips in utility sales tax revenue, down 5 percent and .22 percent for year-to-date sales, respectively. Waldes said that the decline was because the cost of gas and electric has been going down.

Sales Tax High

Waldes said that marijuana sales tax revenue in Breckenridge appears to be back on the upward trend. In 2015, revenue for marijuana continually went up and down in the town. But Waldes said that 2016 started with better sales than when recreational marijuana was first legalized in 2014.

“Marijuana is gangbusters,” Waldes said. “We thought the thrill was gone, we thought that was it, everybody’s already got enough, the novelty’s warn off, but then this year it just went through the roof.”

The year-to-date sales in Breckenridge have seen an 18.96 percent bump.

Frisco has seen a similar roller coaster in cannabis revenue. Like Breckenridge, Frisco saw more revenue in January of this year, than when pot became legal. Their total increase was 67.8 percent more than what the town collected in January 2015. The rest of 2016 has seen an increase month after month. Currently, sales tax for the year for pot is 27.72 percent ahead of 2015. Most said that since Native Roots had recently opened in early 2016, that accounts for some of the bump in revenue.

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