Frisco sales tax revenues down, but not out
FRISCO – Last year was a gloomy year for Frisco financially, but town officials are cautiously optimistic about 2004.
In a treasurer’s report released last week, December’s sales tax numbers were down 5.2 percent compared to December 2002. The figure represents the 12th consecutive month of declining sales tax revenues relative to 2002, but the relative decline was only half as bad as November.
Overall, last year’s sales tax revenues were 15.5 percent below 2002.
The town had budgeted for an 18 percent decline.
“We’re not surprised,” said town manager Theresa Casey, “just a little sad. December came in pretty close to what I thought it would be, based on the rest of the year.
“The good thing is, our employees did a really good job on holding the line, so we’re not in the red,” Casey added.
Slightly disappointing numbers also are in on the new lodging tax that took effect in January after it won approval at the polls in November.
The town collected $25,800, about 1 percent less than expected.
However, smaller lodging businesses, such as bed-and-breakfasts, can file quarterly, so all the money isn’t in yet.
“There may be some January money still out there,” Casey said.
Town economic development director Bob Turner urged the town council not to get too discouraged by the murky numbers.
“One of the key factors is the number of people coming in and out of DIA, which is improving,” Turner said.
“The economy is on the upswing, and we’re starting to turn the corner as a state.”
Turner is working on a number of economic development pursuits, the first of which is a relatively small project to establish “hot zones” in public areas where people could access free, high-speed wireless Internet service.
Turner also has proposed a program to offer grants to new, independent businesses.
Casey is enthusiastic about the new projects, but remains cautious about the town’s fiscal fitness.
Last month, she ordered each of the town’s departments to shave spending by 4 percent.
“I’m still withholding judgment,” Casey said.
“Just because people are coming in and out of DIA doesn’t mean they’re getting into their cars and coming up here.
“I’m really waiting for the first quarter numbers before I breath a sigh of relief or not.”
Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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