Real estate tax collections still on downward spiral in Aspen
September 25, 2008
ASPEN ” Despite a weak economy and dwindling consumer confidence, the city’s sales are still growing.
Retail sales for July were up 1 percent over 2007 at $52.2 million. Year to date through July, Aspen had recorded nearly $327 million in retail sales, representing a 6.8 percent increase over 2007.
Lodging tax collections for July were up 3.6 percent over 2007 and year-to-date collections have risen 9.4 percent over last year.
Not doing as well are the collections fueled by the real estate industry, which is being effected by a weak national market, according to Don Taylor, the city’s finance director.
Year-to-date collections for the Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT), which funds the local affordable-housing program, are 39 percent behind the same period in 2007.
Collections through August were just under $4 million, a figure 30 percent behind the 2008 budget.
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RETT collections for the Wheeler Opera House through August were 40 percent behind collections for the same period in 2007 at $2.1 million. They are 21 percent behind the 2008 year-to-date budget, according to the city’s July tax report.
Aspen’s allocated portion of Pitkin County’s 3.5 percent sales tax for June was down 4.6 percent from 2007. Year-to-date collections through June were up 4.9 percent over last year.
The major industries of tourist accommodations, restaurants, bars, sports equipment, clothing, food, drug stores and utilities continue to reflect healthy increases. Declines are being experienced in general retail and specialty industries.