July’s sales tax revenue increases across Summit County

Sawmill Condominiums, which provides short-term rentals in Breckenridge, is pictured. Breckenridge showed a 33% increase in sales tax revenue from short-term lodging.
Liz Copan /

FRISCO — Sales tax reports for the month of July are now in and show year-over-year revenue increases in four Summit County towns. Anecdotally, several businesses reported high sales volume in July, but the reports show an overall upward trend after months of sales tax reports showing decreases in revenue year over year. As businesses struggled financially during the COVID-19 shutdown, the July reports show a bit of a comeback in overall town business. Towns that reported lodging tax revenue also showed increases as lodging facilities reopened in June. 

Silverthorne, which has performed better than officials expected for Summit County towns throughout the shutdown, was actually up about 9% in July compared to July of 2019. So far, the town was only down in sales tax revenue year over year for three months in 2020, as June was slightly up compared to June 2019 as well. 

The town’s sales tax revenue was down in only two of its eight categories: food and liquor, and the outlets. Online retail continues to soar due to the U.S. Supreme Court decision, up 100% compared to July 2019, consumer retail was up about 14% and lodging made a major comeback — up about 23% in sales tax revenue and 17% in lodging tax collections. While lodging was down during the shutdown, it was also down in January and June. In February, it was only up 5%, making July the best performing month so far this year for lodging in Silverthorne. July accounts for 157% of the 2020 year-to-date budget, which was adjusted to account for the effect of COVID-19. 

Breckenridge’s sales taxes have been down since March but July’s sales tax revenue was up 1.25% compared to July 2019. Although July sales taxes performed better than previous months, bringing in $1.3 million in revenue from the town’s 2.5% sales tax, sales tax is currently $3.1 million under the year-to-date budget and $3.2 million behind the prior year. 

“The town was impacted by COVID-19 in July 2020, with operating limitations affecting many local businesses throughout the month of July,” the finance report’s executive summary said.

Of the town’s six sales tax categories, four were up, including retail, “weedtail,” grocery and liquor, and short-term lodging, which was up about 33%. The restaurant and bar category was still down, however, the category fared better than in previous months at a 24% decline. Construction was down as well.

The town of Dillon’s sales tax revenue increased by about 2% in July 2020 compared to July 2019. Year to date through July, sales tax revenue is down about 3%. Dillon’s lodging tax revenue is up about 13% in July compared to July 2019, a major jump from June’s 55% decrease in revenue.

Frisco saw about a 6% increase in sales tax revenue in July this year compared to last year. The town’s sales tax revenue has now been up year over year for two months — June and July. Year to date, sales taxes are down 4%. The town’s lodging tax saw a 35% increase in revenue in July 2020 compared to July 2019. Vacation rentals made up 72% of the lodging tax while hotels, inns, and bed and breakfasts made up about 28%. Year to date, lodging is down about 14%.

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