April sales tax collections down | SteamboatToday.com

April sales tax collections down

Numbers down 3.3 percent, figures attributed to early Easter

Blythe Terrell

— An early Easter holiday probably contributed to a decrease in April sales tax collections, said Sandy Evans Hall, Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association executive vice president.

Total sales tax collections for April were down 3.3 percent in Steamboat Springs compared to the same month in 2007 – $983,121 to $1,016,601, respectively. Easter was March 23 this year, which pushed school spring breaks earlier, Evans Hall said.

“Really, once all spring vacations were over, it was pretty much a done deal,” she said of winter tourism in Steamboat. “We had really great snow, but it just shows how much more important vacation schedules are than snowfall.”

That factor also showed in mountain-area sales tax collections, which were down 37.4 percent from April 2007, city figures show. That represents a drop from $150,508 in April 2007 to $94,241 this year.

Lodging was down 34.1 percent for the month, from $92,137 to $60,736. Sporting goods were down 17.3 percent. Utilities were up 15.1 percent, and liquor stores were up 2 percent.

Sales tax collections are typically down in April compared with the height of ski season, Evans Hall said. That could contribute to larger percentage drops when the actual dollar amount isn’t huge.

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“What might only be a percentage point in December becomes 20 percent in April,” she said. “It just looks a lot worse.”

Steamboat was about average within the Colorado Association of Ski Towns.

Vail was way down for the month; its sales tax collections were 21 percent lower than the previous April. The town still saw a 6.2 percent increase, however, for the year to date.

Breckenridge, Silverthorne, Avon and Telluride saw drops for April, and Aspen and Glenwood Springs saw increases. Aspen saw the largest rise, 5.6 percent.

Evans Hall said Steamboat’s sales tax collections tend to be steadier than figures in Vail and sometimes Aspen.

“They’re far more dependent on tourism than we are,” she said. “We have a larger population base, a larger year-round population, so when numbers fluctuate, they’re not going to have near as much of an impact.”

Total year-to-date sales tax collections for Steamboat were up 4.45 percent from last year, at about $7.9 million compared to $7.5 million in 2007.

– To reach Blythe Terrell, call 871-4234 or e-mail bterrell@steamboatpilot.com