Basalt ends 2011 fiscal year with 1 percent sales tax gain |

Basalt ends 2011 fiscal year with 1 percent sales tax gain

BASALT – Basalt ended its fiscal year with a modest 1 percent increase in sales tax revenues over the prior year, according to a town report.

The town collected $3,184,643 in sales tax revenues in fiscal 2011, which went from December 2010 through November. The town collected $3,153,491 the prior fiscal year.

While the 1 percent gain is a sign of progress, the report also shows that Basalt’s economy hasn’t bounced back from the recession that started in late 2008. The sales tax revenues are 3.3 percent lower than 2009 and 16 percent below pre-recession 2008.

Grocery stores and other retail food outlets are the single biggest contributor to Basalt’s economy, accounting for more than one-third of all sales tax revenues. The food stores’ sales were up 2.5 percent in 2011, according to a report by the town finance department. Whole Foods Market is scheduled to open at Willits Town Center in July. The store likely will rob its competitors of some business, but the chain, which specializes in natural and organic foods, also is expected to attract new shoppers from other parts of the valley. That suggests that Basalt’s sales tax revenues will grow.

General retail sales, the mom-and-pop stores, saw sales sag 7.5 percent in 2011 compared with 2010. However, sporting retail sales surged 13 percent, the report showed.

Restaurants with bars were down about 0.5 percent in sales, while restaurants without bars were up 5 percent for the year.

Automotive-related business experienced a 3 percent dip in sales in 2011 compared with the prior year.

Retail liquor stores managed a 3 percent increase.

Businesses that sell building materials finally stopped their three-year slide: Sales were up 1.5 percent in 2011 over 2010.

The fiscal year ended with a whimper for Basalt businesses. Overall sales tax collections were down 2.2 percent in November compared with the same month the prior year.

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