Steamboat sales tax revenue on pace to break records |

Steamboat sales tax revenue on pace to break records

The city’s sales tax collections are in the middle of a historic year, as revenue continues to exceed 2021’s totals — which saw the highest sales tax revenue on record — every month. In the middle of summer, the city’s Finance Director Kim Weber cautioned that sales tax revenue would likely slow down going into the latter months of 2022 and forecasted the city finishing about 8% higher than last year.

After the September tax report showed another strong month for the city’s coffers — outperforming September of last year by 10.9% with $3.3 million — sales tax revenue will likely finish above the city’s projection.

The city has brought in about $30 million from sales tax through the end of September, almost 20% higher than 2021 year-to date. The city ended last year with about $34.3 million in sales tax revenue, so there’s a good chance last year’s total could be surpassed before December starts, as October and November combined yielded about $4.5 million in sales tax revenue last year.

Meanwhile December yielded about $4.8 million, so even if sales tax revenue falls back to earth and finishes the same as last year over the final three months, the city would have a little over $39 million, or nearly 14% over last year. With the most expansive opening day for the resort since 2014 upcoming, there’s reason to believe the city might finish the year with over $40 million remitted in sales tax revenue, something the city has never seen.

Higher costs across the board are a big reason sales tax revenue is so high, and numbers have not been adjusted for inflation.

The construction and home improvement collection category was 32% higher in September over its previous years, while the utilities collections category was 11.6% higher. Grocery stores yielded about 8.4% more revenue than last September, while restaurants were down by about 3%.

Steamboat Springs September sales tax revenue broken down by category, with comparisons to collections from September 2021.
City of Steamboat Springs/Courtesy

Accommodation Tax collections, which primarily fund local trail projects, yielded $118,328, which is about 6% higher than last September, while the year-to-date accommodations tax revenue is about 32% higher than 2021.

The Building Use Tax brought in $183,832, putting the use tax’s year-to-date revenue at $3.6 million and 9% over last year.

While 2022 is shaping up to be a record breaking year for sales tax, higher costs have impacted numerous capital projects the city is planning, and the city budgeted for an estimated 4% drop in sales tax revenue for 2023. The city’s staff called the budget for next year a “balancing act.”

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