Expanding sales tax receipts set records across Summit County in 2018
For the fifth year running, Frisco has posted record-setting sales tax revenue.
But the Summit County town isn’t in a league of its own here, as consistently rising sales revenues have been recorded not just in Frisco, but across the county in Breckenridge, Silverthorne and Dillon, as well.
In fact, Breckenridge has seen rising sales tax revenue going back to at least to 2015, when the town had over $494 million in gross taxable sales. Jumping anywhere from $20 million to $50 million a year every year since then, Breckenridge’s total taxable sales topped $612 million in 2018 based on the town’s latest financial report.
The report notes that December was another strong month for Breckenridge with estimated sales tax revenue ringing up 5.36 percent ahead of the same month last year. Closing out the year, taxable sales in Breckenridge were 8.49 percent — or over $47 million — ahead of 2017.
After a disappointing November — one of only two months in 2018 that the town saw a decline — Silverthorne’s sales tax revenues rebounded in December with a 4.4 percent increase over December 2017.
Sales tax returns and payments for the year will continue to trickle in, according to the town’s financial officials, who expect to issue a finalized report for 2018 in March. Still, Silverthorne’s preliminary sales tax revenues show the town’s up 4.46 percent over 2017.
Boosted by traffic from the ice castles last winter, Dillon began 2018 on a tear with double-digit growth throughout the first three months of the year before the blockbuster growth rates returned to more reasonable levels in the spring and summer months.
With all 12 months now reported, Dillon ended 2018 with 4.13 percent month-over-month growth in December to finish out the year 8.65 percent ahead of 2017’s sales tax revenues.
In Frisco, December’s sales tax receipts exceeded most everyone’s expectations with 9.35 percent growth over December 2017, which boosted the town’s sales tax revenues for all of 2018 to 6.74 percent higher than they were the year before.
Frisco revenue specialist Chad Most attributed some of that growth to “advantageous skiing and riding conditions, especially as compared to late 2017,” but sales tax revenues have been growing since the nation emerged from the Great Recession.
And expanding sales do not come without some challenges, including the responsible management of such growth, the exacerbation of affordable housing issues, infrastructure concerns and changes to community character, among others, Most said.
“Complacency may also be a side effect of almost a decade of uninterrupted increases in commercial activity,” he warned. “Though staff remains bullish on the short-term Frisco economy, downside risks are in the forefront of our minds as we plan for the mid- and long-terms.”
Those risks could include having an economy operating at or near capacity or growing volatility in politics, the climate or stock markets. Typical economic cyclicality presents another reason that Most hesitates to project the same levels of growth to continue too far into the future.
“None of which is to say we shouldn’t be incredibly encouraged by the strides our business community has made in recent years, with the support of forward-looking infrastructure and marketing improvement efforts undertaken by the town,” Most said. However, as a nod to caution, he also recalled that Frisco’s sales tax revenues declined by almost $1 million between 2007 and 2009.
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