Silverthorne: tax revenue still down but meeting projections | SummitDaily.com

Silverthorne: tax revenue still down but meeting projections

CAITLIN ROW
summit daily news

SILVERTHORNE – Though visitors seemed to flock to Silverthorne in July, spending was down and free activities were popular. Even so, Silverthorne met projections for July sales tax collection. Yet the town’s revenue is still about 14 percent on the year.

“This is pretty consistent to what the national consumer is doing,” said town financial director Donna Braun. “July results confirm that we need to be conservative with our projections for 2010 and keep sales tax estimations flat for 2010. With sales tax revenues making up the majority of revenues for the town, this will mean a flat expenditure budget for 2010.”

Braun noted that the town was down $733,119 in July, or 6.14 percent. In June, sales-tax collection was down 19.5 percent, and town numbers were down 15.3 percent year-to-date.

But there’s a silver lining – “Consumer retail was up 19.77 percent, or $24,986,” Braun said. “This is due to the Target ESTIP (Enhanced Sales Tax Incentive Program) that the town is now able to retain. Without the ESTIP, the category would have been down 5.7 percent. The Outlets were down .97 percent, or $2,789. We consider this good news. … Summer will probably prove to be a success for the Outlets. The stores were busy.”

Silverthorne paid off its ESTIP commitment to Target in March, completely reimbursing the store for its public road improvements.

Braun added that sales tax collection for the building industry continues to come in under previous years – it was down 37 percent as of July and 30 percent year-to-date.

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“Larger ticket items like autos and building are severely down through July, which is consistent with the national figures,” she said. “It’s too early to see if the ‘cash for clunkers’ program had a positive effect on local dealerships. While we have seen a minor improvement in building permits issued, it won’t be material enough as it relates to the local building sales tax generating businesses.”

Braun said she’s looking to October, when she’ll be able to look at one full year of lower sales tax collection – “We’ll start seeing if there is any improvement from prior down months. While economic indicators are seeing small improvements, we don’t expect any material improvements until late 2010 and beyond.”

Silverthorne has already implemented savings and cuts, so low collection numbers are still being offset by conservative planning efforts. Budget reductions for the town were based on sales-tax collection through March, with an estimated 10-percent sales tax decrease for the rest of the year. Town expenses were cumulatively dropped by $732,893. With the cut, Silverthorne’s staff experienced wage freezes, overtime cuts and mandatory10-day vacations.

“I think until we see new job employment numbers increase on a national level, there won’t be any significant improvements in the resort and mountain economies,” Braun said.

For more information about Silverthorne’s budget, visit http://www.silverthorne.org.

Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at crow@summitdaily.com.