Basalt sales rebound, but times still tough | AspenTimes.com

Basalt sales rebound, but times still tough

BASALT – Businesses enjoyed a small surge in August, when sales tax revenues jumped 5.72 percent compared to the same month last year, according to a recent report.

The town needed the strong showing in August just to pull even with 2010 for year-to-date sales tax revenues. Last year was the worst Basalt experienced since the recession hit. That indicates that recovery has been slow for many businesses.

In August, the town collected $299,545 in sales tax revenues compared to $283,346 in August 2010. The sectors of the economy that showed the strongest growth were restaurants with bars, up 29.5 percent; sporting goods retail, up nearly 19 percent; and building materials, up almost 17 percent. Basalt’s restaurant industry got a boost by the opening of the Red Brick Pony on Midland Avenue. It opened late in the summer but has been packing in crowds regularly.

While August sales tax revenues improved from the same month in 2010, it still lags well behind pre-recession levels. The town collected $357,243 in sales tax revenues in August 2008, or about 16 percent more than this year, according to the report by town finance director Judi Tippetts.

For the fiscal year to date, December through August, Basalt pulled even with 2010 with revenues of $2.41 million. The retail food category is Basalt’s single biggest economic generator. It includes City Market and Clark’s Market. Through August, retail food sales are up 1.65 percent for the year.

Other categories posting increases in sales during the fiscal year so far are sporting goods retail, up 11.5 percent; and liquor stores, up about 2.5 percent.

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The picture wasn’t rosy for all types of businesses. General retail sales, which reflect the mom-and-pop shops, are down almost 6 percent for the year-to-date. Restaurants with bars are down almost 3 percent. Businesses selling building materials are down 3.75 percent.

For the year-to-date, sales tax revenues are down about $487,000 from the same period in 2008. That’s a decrease of 17 percent.

scondon@aspentimes.com