Basalt collected record sales tax in 2013 |

Basalt collected record sales tax in 2013

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times

Basalt raked in record sales tax revenues in 2013, despite the challenges facing the downtown core.

A year-end assessment, issued this week by town Finance Director and Assistant Town Manager Judi Tippetts, shows that Basalt collected a record amount of sales tax revenues last year.

The town collected $4,087,245 in 2013 compared to $3,434,666 the prior year, the report showed. That is an increase of 19 percent.

Revenues were up every month except one in 2013 compared to 2012. The only month that declined was October, which reflects sales made in September and sales tax collected in October.

July and August — the fishing town’s bread-and-butter months — were up significantly from 2012, the report showed.

Basalt’s sales tax collections fell sharply in 2009 as the recession took hold, and revenues were flat in 2010 and 2011 before showing modest growth in 2012.

The strength of 2013’s sales tax revenues is reflected by the increase over pre-recession years. The 2013 revenues were up nearly $275,000, or 7 percent, over the 2008 level, the town report showed.

Basalt Town Manager Mike Scanlon previously said that the sales tax reports reflect that some parts of the town are thriving while others are hurting. The focus of the town government and community at-large is to revive downtown business. Meanwhile, Willits Town Center is more robust, due in large part to Whole Foods Market.

The year-end sales tax report didn’t break down Basalt’s economic performance by sector. However, earlier reports showed that retail-food sales — which reflect Whole Foods — were up about 33 percent over 2012.

The town is in the middle of an intensive planning process to determine what uses residents want on some key parcels of land. In addition, operators of restaurants, hotels and shops started the Downtown Business Association to take collective steps to boost business.