Aspen’s sales tax collections keep pace |

Aspen’s sales tax collections keep pace

The percent increase in June sales tax collections might, at first glance, suggest Aspen’s economy is cooling off, but that’s not the whole story, says Paul Menter, city finance director.”The month-over-month change from June of 2005 is probably not as high as a lot of people would expect,” Menter said, but “look at that in the context of the last couple of years.”Aspen saw record-breaking retail sales last summer, so comparing revenues can be misleading.”In reality, we’re still kind of tending the same level of economic activity,” Menter said. Although his department is still researching why last summer saw such high numbers, Menter suspects “at first blush [that] more and more people are discovering the Roaring Fork Valley for summer use.”Sales tax collections for June 2006, compared to June 2005, are up 1.6 percent, and year-to-date collections through June are up 9.1 percent from the same period in 2005. June lodging tax collections are up 7.4 percent for June, and year-to-date lodging collections are up 12.6 percent.”In the midst of all the redevelopment in town, I think that’s a very strong number,” Menter said.Sports equipment and clothing store sales jumped more than 25 percent over June of 2005, while gallery sales took a 50 percent dive. Year-to-date sales at galleries remain up by 14 percent, however.The city’s real estate transfer taxes have seen sharp upward growth in the past several years, a sign of timeshare sales activity, Menter said.The year-to-date housing RETT through July is 20 percent ahead of collections over last year and 102 percent ahead of the 2006 budget. The year-to-date Wheeler Opera House RETT is 28 percent above the same period in 2005 and 130 percent ahead of the 2006 budget.Abigail Eagye’s e-mail address is

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