Base area sales tax booming
Monthly report shows 140 percent jump from last year
Steamboat Springs — On the verge of a multi-year makeover, the base of Steamboat Ski Area is generating rapidly increasing sales tax revenues for the city.
A monthly sales tax report prepared by city staff shows that in February 2006, the city collected $44,898 in sales tax revenues in the Urban Renewal Authority boundaries near the base of the ski area. In February of 2007, sales tax revenues within URA boundaries jumped to $108,859 – an increase of more than 140 percent. The city implemented the URA in 2005 as a special tax district to fund public improvements and redevelopment projects. Those projects break ground Monday.
This week, the city issued $9 million in bonds to fund the first stages of the multi-year base area redevelopment. Steamboat Springs City Councilman Paul Strong, a certified public accountant, said the base area’s booming sales tax revenues could allow the city not only to repay those bonds quicker than expected, but also to have greater financial leverage in years to come.
“It will provide a better bonding capability in the future,” Strong said. “The URA could eventually be able to stand on its own, which it was designed to do.”
Overall in Steamboat Springs, February sales tax revenues increased more than 9 percent from last year, rising from nearly $1.9 million in 2006 to more than $2 million in 2007. The city’s budget anticipates 5 percent growth in sales tax revenues.
In February, the ongoing sales tax increase in Steamboat largely can be attributed to the mountain area. While total sales tax revenues in Old Town dipped slightly – from $272,660 in February 2006 to $271,815 in February 2007 – revenues in the combined mountain area, which covers a wide region including the URA, rose 13 percent from last year.
Kim Weber, revenue accountant for the city, said February marks the first time the city has tabulated sales tax revenues specifically for the URA area, due to a request from the City Council.
“We thought it would be appropriate to know how much is going to the URA,” said Strong, who added that the 140 percent increase could be a slightly misleading figure, because the URA is a relatively new entity with little basis for historical comparison.
“But a 13 percent increase in the total mountain area is nothing to laugh at,” Strong said. “It’s definitely a good sign overall, and it’s certainly a sign of a healthy economy. I think everyone’s aware that our economy is booming and has been for a while.”
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Work to form a new strategic plan for the Steamboat Springs School District will start next week with the first sessions of a listening tour aimed at getting broad community feedback.