Basalt sales tax down 6.5% in first half | AspenTimes.com

Basalt sales tax down 6.5% in first half

BASALT – Conditions for some Basalt businesses have “stabilized” even though sales tax revenues overall were down 6.5 percent through the first half of the fiscal year, Basalt Town Manager Bill Kane told the Town Council this week.

Shops in the general retail category and sporting goods retail have posted higher sales in recent months than they did during the same period in 2009, Kane said. Restaurants with bars have also performed well.

Those are the types of small businesses that provide a good “Main Street indicator” for Basalt, he said.

But for the fiscal year-to-date, December through May, Basalt’s sales tax collections were down $107,000, or 6.5 percent, from the same period in 2009, according to a report released Wednesday by the town finance department.

Kane said at Tuesday night’s council meeting that two of the biggest sectors of Basalt’s economy are still experiencing falling revenues. Retail food establishments, which include City Market, were down 7.6 percent for May, and down 8.1 percent for the fiscal year.

Sales of building materials were off 26.5 percent in May, and 28 percent fiscal year-to-date.

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Combined, businesses in the retail food and building materials categories account for 47 percent of Basalt’s annual sales tax revenues.

Kane said the town’s 2010 budget was based on flat sales tax receipts this year. It now appears that was a “faulty assumption,” but the picture could change during the summer, the town’s bread-and-butter tourist season, he said.

Restaurants with bars logged a 5.5 percent increase in sales in May. Shops in the general retail category recorded an 8.6 percent increase for the month. Sporting retail was up 12 percent, the finance department’s report shows.

Sales tax revenues overall were down about 4.6 percent in May compared to last year, the report says.

scondon@aspentimes.com