Something is cooking in Basalt this summer.
The July sales tax report, which reflects sales made in June, was up almost 25 percent from the same month last year, according to the town Finance Department.
The town collected $359,519 during the month compared with $288,427 in June 2012, the report showed. The sales tax revenue in 2013 dwarfed even pre-recession levels. The town collected $319,422 in June 2008.
Rumors of the town’s demise appear greatly exaggerated. There is concern among some merchants and residents that the downtown will fade away with the success of Willits Town Center, where Whole Foods Market opened a year ago. The sales tax report groups businesses into like categories, but there is no breakdown between downtown and Willits, nor does the report reflect individual businesses’ performances.
Sales by grocery stores are driving Basalt’s success. Sales in the retail food category were up 34 percent in June compared with the same month last year, prior to the opening of Whole Foods.
However, several other categories were big winners, as well. General retail was up nearly 43 percent. Sporting-goods stores were up 20 percent. Restaurants with bars were up almost 10 percent. Retail liquor sales were up 17 percent.
June was no fluke. For the year to date, which reflects sales from December through June, Basalt has collected 21.62 percent more sales tax revenue than last year, the report showed.
The town has collected $2,260,463 compared with $1,858,597 at the same point last year and $2,149,587 in 2008.
Sales in the retail food category account for nearly half of all sales tax revenue collected by the town so far this year. Grocery-store sales are up 34 percent. General retail is up 28 percent. Sporting-goods retail is up 17 percent.
The only blip among the major categories is restaurants with bars. Sales tax revenue is down 3.7 percent for the year to date through June.