Breckenridge, Summit County towns see sales-tax revenue boom over summer
2016 Sales Tax Collections
Sales tax revenue continued to swell across Summit County in the heat of the summer.
Nearly across the board, numbers for the month of July saw increases. While Silverthorne had a more moderate year-to-date revenue increase of 3.48 percent from sales tax, Breckenridge and Frisco brought in larger increases of 8.9 percent and 9.76 respectively.
“We’ve had such robust growth for so long that it’s just continuing,” said Brian Waldes, the director of finance and information technology in Breckenridge. “We’re just seeing growth everywhere, and just trying to manage the symptoms of growth at the same time.”
He continued by saying that some of these symptoms manifest as traffic management and housing problems in the town. While Waldes said that finance people typically are a little skeptical of long-term reliance on trends, the increase in revenue shows no signs of slowing down.
Breckenridge saw what Waldes called a fairly typical month for July. Year-to-date sales-tax revenue was over $11 million.
Sales tax collected in Frisco for July overall was up $79,053 compared to what was collected in 2015.
Chad Most, the revenue specialist in Frisco, said that the new Natural Grocers in Frisco, which relocated in May, had a big impact on the increase seen in sales tax collected from grocery items. He said a new store will continue to impact the rates for the next year. July’s grocery revenue saw an increase of $36,189 compared to last year.
Silverthorne saw a small bump in sales tax for the month of July, with a $19,594 increase in collections from last year. One of the categories where the town sees the largest amount of revenue is the outlet stores, which represent nearly 23 percent of year-to-date sales. However, outlets took a large hit in their year-to-date revenue, falling $119,505 from this time in 2015.
“In general the stores themselves are doing pretty well, but there are fewer stores,” Marshall said. “Because they are leasing fewer spots overall their sales taxes are lower.”
Silverthorne and Frisco both saw large decreases in their automotive sales tax for the month. For Silverthorne, revenue went down $10,940 compared to what came in last July, and Frisco was down $8,028.
“I was a little surprised that automotive was down, and I haven’t quite figured out why,” said Kathy Marshall, Silverthorne’s revenue administrator.
She added that while the town doesn’t collect tax on car sales, the town sees most of its automotive-sales-tax revenue from repairs and windshield replacements.
In Frisco, Most said that while he can usually find reasons when certain categories go up and down, automotive is always a wildcard.
Lodging Stays Strong
Sales tax collected from lodging in Silverthorne saw an astounding 48.77 percent increase, nearly doubling what it did in July last year. Year-to-date revenue collected from the sales tax was nearly $100,000.
The separate lodging tax in Silverthorne was also up nearly 50 percent. Marshall said that having the new Hampton Inn in Silverthorne has contributed a lot to that increase. The hotel opened in December of 2015.
Hotels, inns, and bed and breakfasts brought in $32,987 in Frisco during July, a whopping 80.56 percent of the total lodging tax collected there. Following the trend of the rest of the county, the town saw an increase in year-to-date lodging as well, which fell just under a 10 percent bump.
Short-term lodging in Breckenridge saw a nearly $2 million increase in July’s taxable sales. Waldes said that while the summer months don’t bring in nearly as much revenue as winter, their growth rate is higher. July 2016 saw a 22.72 percent increase in revenue from the previous year, where as January of this year brought in an increase of 13.95 percent.
“So while summer is growing, it still is dwarfed by the amount of activity we have here in winter,” he said. “We hit full occupancy much more in winter than we do in summer.”
Marijuana Roller Coaster
Since 2014, Frisco has seen a steady increase in the town’s marijuana tax collection. After its first year, revenue collected from taxes nearly doubled. As of July, the year-to-date revenue for marijuana was up 27.39 percent.
Most say that some of the growth the town has seen in the past few years was due to Native Roots opening a store in Frisco.
“A lot of the growth that we saw, not this year, but last year was generally because we had a new, much more visible vendor in that category, and they had done a lot more marketing as well,” Most said.
In Breckenridge the numbers go back a little further, with $2.3 million in taxable sales in 2013. However, Breck saw a slight dip in marijuana tax revenue from 2014-15. This year has seen increases every month when compared to last year. Pot-sale revenue is up 19.53 percent from this time last year in the town.
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