SNOWMASS VILLAGE - Sales tax revenue in Snowmass Village was up 7.8 percent in May from the same month last year, according to a tax report by the town finance department. To date, sales revenue this year is up 6.5 percent over 2011, a sign an economic recovery could be beginning.
Utilities contributed to the bulk of the tax revenue, although income from that industry was down 18.9 percent. The biggest improvement year over year came in the sports equipment and clothing industry, which brought in $85,675 this May as opposed to $10,553 in May 2011.
"I doubled what I did the year before in May," said Troy Forbes, manager of the Aspen Sports Outlet. Forbes said he thinks his store was the only sporting goods store open in May this year. Because of the early warm weather, Forbes put summer items out on the store's floor earlier than usual and said the weather might have had something to do with the increase in sales as well.
"Maybe people were buying summer items earlier than they normally would," Forbes said.
In general, May sales numbers are usually the lowest of the year, he said.
In 2008, sales tax revenue was about $900,000 by the end of May. At about $860,000 so far this year, sales tax revenue is only about 4 percent lower. Over the past 12 months, Snowmass Village has seen positive growth in every month except for last March, as Town Manager Russ Forrest pointed out at the Part-Time Residents Advisory Board meeting on July 6.
"We're beginning to see revenue in terms of sales tax that we were experiencing prior to the recession," Forrest said.
Forrest said at the meeting that the most significant change in the past few years has been in the revenue from the real estate transfer tax, which pays for town services such as buses, recreation and trails. That fund saw a big year in 2007 with the sale of Base Village, but revenue usually was about $3 million. Last year it brought in $2.1 million, including taxes on the sale of the Silvertree Hotel and Wildwood Lodge.
"I think it's going to take a little while with the real estate," Forrest said. "We may never see the volume of sales that we were seeing in 2007, but I think we are beginning to see a slow recovery."