Hot in July: Frisco, Dillon see double-digit sales tax growth
A strong economy plowed through another summer month with Summit County’s four largest towns all experiencing growth in July’s sales tax receipts, though just barely in Silverthorne.
Propelled by dramatic spikes in its high-dollar grocery (40.66 percent), restaurants (20.46 percent) and general retail (11.52 percent) categories, Frisco led the way across the county with July’s net taxable sales up 13.54 percent over July 2017.
Dillon wasn’t far behind with 12.46 percent growth, while Breckenridge, which has logged over $377 million in taxable sales through the first seven months of the year, was up 5.82 percent compared to July 2017.
Across Breckenridge, every single sector was up in July. The towns taxable sales are tracking 8.93 percent ahead of last year through the first seven months of this year, buoyed by double-digit increases in its high-dollar categories — general retail (up 10.42 percent), restaurants and bars (up 11.16 percent), and lodging (up 13.61 percent)
Breckenridge saw the most notable month-over-month increases in its restaurants and bars (8.05 percent), marijuana (10.89 percent) and construction (14.81 percent) sectors.
Up a meager 0.64 percent over July 2017, Silverthorne was largely flat for the month and recorded the most modest growth rate across Summit County.
Even though Silverthorne experienced its slowest rate of month-over-month growth since October, the town remains a healthy 6.11 percent ahead of 2017 in a year-to-date comparison.
“Overall, the town’s revenue and expenditures are tracking well to budget,” revenue administrator Kathy Marshall noted in the town’s latest financial report.
That’s good news for Silverthorne because, according to the same report, sales taxes have generated roughly 52 percent of the town’s general fund revenue through the first seven months of the year.
The most significant change over July 2017 came in Silverthorne’s building retail category, which was up 11.20 percent in July, attributed to a spike in sales accompanied by a small increase in equipment rentals.
At the same time, Silverthorne saw the most significant decrease in its service sector, down 15.26 percent in July compared to July 2017. However, that category remains up a whopping 47.69 percent year, and because July’s decline can be explained outside of regular market forces, there’s little reason to worry about the one-month slide.
According to Marshall, most large service providers’ sales were actually flat or even up slightly in July, and the dip can actually be blamed on a one-time county payment in July 2017 that pushed the category down this July.
After posting 7.96 percent growth in June, Dillon returned to double-digit figures in July, which helped the town remain up a wild 12.65 percent year to date.
Just how long the towns can continue posting this kind of growth is anyone’s guess. But for tourist-rich Summit County, occupancy rates can be one indicator of economic activity.
According to the most recent occupancy report released by Inntopia’s monthly DestiMetrics Market Briefing, which complies data from participating western destinations, including Summit County, the outlook is good.
That’s because the DestiMetrics report shows occupancy rates for the summer season at western destinations are up 2.9 percent from May through October of this year compared to the same time last year.
Although wildfires and smoke have plagued many western states this summer, as of Aug. 31, there has been very little negative impact on western mountain destinations, according to the firm, which saw a 3.9 percent jump in August’s occupancy rates compared to August 2017.
Jeremy Dreiling, production manager for the Business Intelligence division of Inntopia, explains that the growth in destination lodging isn’t universal across the West, but he also sees many key economic indicators that influence discretionary consumer spending, including recreational travel, suggesting good things to come.
For example, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 2.4 percent in August, which also marked the longest bull market streak without a major correction in 60 years. Additionally, the Consumer Confidence Index gained six points to reach its highest level since October 2000.
“These historically high confidence levels have analysts predicting that consumer spending will continue its healthy upward trend through 2018 and will continue to foster stable economic growth,” Dreiling said.
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