Summit County towns see mixed growth from February sales tax revenue
May 3, 2017
February saw a flattening in sales tax revenue for some of Summit County's towns after months of strong growth.
Breckenridge ended the month of February coming in 0.14 percent ahead of the same time last year. Year-to-date numbers came in slightly stronger at a rise of 1.01 percent, or $1,304,948 in net taxable sales.
The flattening of revenue isn't a large concern for Brian Waldes, the director of finance in Breckenridge. The town has gone up 50 percent in net taxable sales since 2011. He added that robust growth of that nature could not continue.
"That's just an incredible increase of activity in the town," he said. "Seeing the growth slow is not really surprising or alarming."
Dillon remains behind for year-to-date numbers compared to 2016, falling a little more than $27,000. The month of February was 1.89 percent behind the same time last year.
Both Silverthorne and Frisco fared better, coming in at 7.39 percent and 3.74 percent ahead for the month of February respectively.
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Silverthorne has been seeing steady growth for the month of February for the past several years. The Outlets at Silverthorne came in slightly ahead, a rarity according to Kathy Marshall, a revenue administrator for the town. The Outlets hit 0.09 percent ahead, or a total of $140 in revenue. Year-to-date numbers, however, are still behind by 4.38 percent. Marshall said that while snow often brings people into resort areas for skiing, it can also keep them away from the shops.
"When the snow's not so good (people) tend to shop," she said.
She added that she expects the outlets to do well for April sales tax numbers. The outlets held several promotions for the Easter holiday, including a free photo booth at the J.Crew Factory Store.
The town came in 7.06 percent ahead for year-to-date numbers.
In Frisco, the town saw a large decrease in sales tax revenue from the home improvement category, coming in $19,507 behind February of 2016. Chad Most, the Frisco revenue specialist, said that this was due to a redistribution of tax money. The redistribution was either due to a reporting error either with the state or a specific business in the town. Because of this, Most said that it's important that self-collecting towns like Frisco continue to manage taxes on their own in order to keep track of errors like this. It was also better for the decrease to happen during the tail end of the ski season, when the town is still reaping the benefits of larger numbers of tourists.
"That would have been a pretty big hit for us if it had happened in April or May," Most said.
Despite the dip in home improvement, Frisco came in ahead for year-to-date sales tax revenue by more than $66,000. This was in part due to the vacation rental category, which came in $11,394 ahead of February 2016. Most said that the new state deal with Airbnb to collect taxes started that month, which helped to boost the number.
Sales growth for marijuana appears to have slowed down in Breckenridge, but continues to hold steady in Frisco. In February, the town of Breckenridge saw a $31,052 boost compared to last year. But, the jump in net taxable sales revenue from February of 2015 to 2016 was more than $236,000.
"It's still the biggest February we've ever had," Waldes said.
Frisco, on the other hand, came in just shy of double-digit growth, with a 9.71 percent increase for marijuana sales in February.
Automotive was another category that seems to have suffered in terms of sales tax revenue. Silverthorne saw a decrease of more than $8,000 compared to the same time last year, and Frisco saw a decrease of just over $2,000. Marshall said that most of the revenue from the category comes from people repairing their cars. In Frisco, it's more reflective of tire purchases.
"Most of the folks that were buying their snow tires, cause that's a big piece of the puzzle, already got their tires in the summer," Most said.
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