Sales-tax revenues up over ’00

Businesses reap benefits of early summer events

Avi Salzman

— For one of the first months this year, the increase in utilities prices was not the only variable boosting Steamboat’s sales-tax revenues in June over last year’s receipts.

Sales-tax revenues rose 9.1 percent in June over June 2000, pushed primarily by increases in lodging and utilities receipts. The increase was the largest of the year since January and brought receipts for the year up 5.1 percent over last year at this time, more than the city’s projected rise.

City Councilman Jim Engelken pointed to the rise in receipts from the city’s accommodations tax as an indicator of a strong month for local businesses, especially in the lodging industry.

The accommodations tax revenue went up 21.7 percent over last year. Sales-tax revenue from lodging rose 16.4 percent.

City Finance Director Don Taylor said high utilities prices still played a major role in the increase, with utilities bringing in 24.4 percent more than last June.

Sandy Evans-Hall, the Chamber Resort Association’s executive vice president, was somewhat guarded in her estimation of the health of the local business economy this summer judging from June receipts. Evans-Hall said the Ride the Rockies bike tour that stopped in Steamboat for the first time in three years and an early softball tournament pushed sales-tax receipts.

She said that while the chamber projected a few weekends this summer above last year in terms of visitor occupancy, more weekends saw dips in projected numbers or were flat as compared to last year. She said the early summer sales-tax receipts may have remained about even or a little ahead overall with the Steamboat Grand open all summer long. That could have helped account for a 26-percent rise in receipts on the mountain, following a 30-percent increase in May.

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