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Sales tax reports show increases

Kim Marquis

SUMMIT COUNTY – April sales tax figures reported this week indicate local governments will continue to toe the line on 2004 budgets.As local governments continue to see increases in sales tax revenues in line with a national recovery from an economic downturn, drastic changes such as budget cuts or increases in expenditures are not expected, according to financial directors across the county.April financial reports showed three of the five government entities receiving increases in collections compared to the same month in 2003. Silverthorne and Dillon had decreases for the month.Increases in sales tax collections since the beginning of the year fueled hopes that budget cuts experienced in 2003 were done. Local governments budgeted conservatively for 2004, and those plans seem to be paying off.In Breckenridge, warm temperatures kept day skiers away in March, so the town’s collections in tourist spending categories (including lodging nights and restaurant sales) were down for that month. But April saw a nice recovery, with a 12.2 percent increase in tourist categories over 2003. Year-to-date, the town is 5.9 percent ahead of revenues collected last year.Frisco, which was hardest hit by the economic downturn, reported a 5.06 percent increase in collections over April 2003. It marked just the second month of positive collections in several years. In February, Frisco reported an 8 percent increase, but the warm weather was blamed for a dip of 1.4 percent in March. Both Breckenridge and Frisco are working within annual budget projections, but the towns are still catching up from decreased sales tax revenues that began in 2002. Summit County government reported a 10.9 percent increase in collections in April. The county is 4.5 percent ahead of 2003 year-to-date collections. Summit County Finance Director Linda Gregory said the county is sticking to its conservative budget as well.”We don’t have any plans for big spending increases,” she said. “When the economy is still relatively uncertain, it’s better to increase the fund balance to provide a cushion than to increase the budget.”If an increase is realized, Gregory said the funds will probably be put in the bank.With the economic recovery in mind, the Summit Board of County Commissioners is allowing county departments to request up to a 5 percent increase in spending in 2005. The budget process started this month, and Gregory said department managers are beginning to formulate requests for next year.Dillon’s April sales tax collections were down by 9.35 percent over the same period last year. The town is still up 1.43 percent in year-to-date comparisons.Silverthorne reported a slight decrease in sales tax collections in April. Year-to-date collections are 3.66 percent ahead of 2003.Comparisons for April that show individual category spending in Dillon and Silverthorne are expected to be ready next week, possibly explaining sales decreases in those towns.


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