Local: Sales tax revenues keep rising | SteamboatToday.com

Local: Sales tax revenues keep rising

— The tail end of mud season proved to be lucrative for Steamboat Springs in terms of sales tax revenues.

The May report compiled by the city’s financial services department showed sales tax was up 14.61 percent compared to May 2005. Year to date, sales tax is up nearly 13 percent. Total sales tax revenues in May were $934,985. The city has taken in $7,837,818 this year.

Steamboat is also outpacing other ski town destinations. For the year, Steamboat is ahead of Aspen, Vail and Crested Butte. Aspen’s May revenues for May were only up 1.62 percent from the previous year. Vail’s revenues decreased nearly 10 percent.

The Steamboat City Council has chosen to use the increased revenues to fund several projects. Nearly $1 million of additional funding was allocated for a new community center. The money is also being used for a new hybrid regional bus and additional costs for burying utility lines in the alley between Yampa Street and Lincoln Avenue. The city’s share of the 8.4 percent sales tax is 4.5 percent, with half a percent of that going to an education fund.

When broken down by category, lodging experienced the largest increase — 42 percent — over the May 2005 numbers.

It is not as easy to credit an epic season of snowfall for May increases, but Rabbit Ears Motel owner Greg Koehler said Thursday that good May weather was a contributing factor.

“May was a real good month,” Koehler said. “A lot of it is weather related. If it’s nice people come.”

The motel’s average occupancy for May was 66.6 percent, more than 10 percent higher than May 2005, Koehler said.

“It’s a pretty big jump,” he said. “We certainly can’t complain.”

The number of guests staying at the hotel for business was actually down, Koehler said, and the increase was due to general tourism.

Sales tax revenue was up nearly 14 percent for general retail in May. That meant an additional about $70,000. Sporting goods was up 26 percent, and liquor store revenues increased 15 percent.

The region that saw the largest percent increase for May comparisons — 42 percent — was the U.S. Highway 40 corridor. West Steamboat saw a 20 percent increase and downtown saw an 18 percent increase.

To reach Matt Stensland call 871-4210 or e-mail mstensland@steamboatpilot.com.

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