Tax and traffic numbers show that 2022 has been one of Breckenridge’s busiest years
This year marked the first “normal” year for tourism without restrictions, but numbers from the first quarter of 2022 show that visitors are bringing in more than they did even before the pandemic.
According to the financial report for the first three months of 2022, the town of Breckenridge is approximately $4.2 million ahead of its budgeted excise funds, which includes sales tax. Town staff and council budgeted around $8.2 million to come in by this time, but the year-to-date actual revenue for sales is $12.4 million, or 150% of what was expected.
Of this, sales tax is currently $3.3 million over the year-to-date budget and $4.2 million ahead of 2021. Accommodations tax is $400,000 over budget and $700,000 ahead of last year. Real Estate Transfer Tax is $300,000 above budget for this year and $300,000 behind 2021.
When compared to 2019, the last year that did not have any capacity- or COVID-19-related restraints, those numbers still excel. When comparing February 2022 to February 2019, there was a 45% jump in taxable sales in Breckenridge.
“For everybody that said, ‘Why are we so busy?’ There it is,” mayor Eric Mamula said last Tuesday.
Breckenridge Town Council discussed the town’s financial success of the first part of the year during its April 26 meeting.
“While this is wonderful for the town in a lot of ways, there’s a lot of community members who are asking us to look at this and say, ‘How do we address some of the congestion issues,’” Council member Kelly Owens said. “I feel like when you’re looking at the budgeting and (when) we’re kind of taking the next step in that conversation, I feel like we’re going to have to have some budget to use to address this congestion issue.”
Town manager Rick Holman said that before budgeting begins, staff and Town Council will begin to address congestion in town. He added that his staff is remaining cautious in case 2022 is an out-of-the-ordinary year, which could include tourists’ reluctance to travel internationally or just general excitement for no more public health restrictions.
“There’s the potential that this is an aberrant year, too — coming out of a pandemic without some restrictions — and we’re still not out of it,” Mamula said. “So next year might be back to something more like normal, or not. I mean, April is still big. April is still monstrous. So who knows?”
Across the county, sales tax for the first part of 2022 exceeded what was previously seen — even before the COVID-19 pandemic. In Breckenridge, retail revenue as of February was up about 30% over 2021. In Silverthorne, consumer retail was up 31%, and Frisco retail was up 32%. Dillon does not provide data on sales tax revenue for specific industries, but it still had an increase of about 20% when compared to 2019.
In addition to monetary boosts, Breckenridge’s mobility staff saw higher numbers traveling in town as well. In February and March, north- and south-bound traffic counts for Colorado Highway 9 and Tiger Road were the highest they’ve been since 2016. In February, there were 26,314 vehicles, and in March there were 25,528 counted along this area.
“(There were) high traffic numbers for the month of March, and there’s a pretty big decrease that we’re seeing in the beginning of April here,” Matt Hulsey, assistant mobility director, said. “So while we saw some pretty good revenue for the last two months at Tiger Road, we saw a pretty good decrease here in April so you probably feel that around downtown.”
In May, the town will celebrate locals by providing free parking in town lots for the entire month. Main Street parking will still be paid parking, but all town-owned lots will be free.
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