Basalt sales tax revenues down 14 percent in January |

Basalt sales tax revenues down 14 percent in January

BASALT – The economic recovery in Aspen, however slight, continues to elude Basalt this winter.

Sales tax revenues dropped 14 percent in Basalt in January compared to the prior year, which was down from 2008. The town government’s revenues for the month fell to $229,655 from $268,126.

Aspen eked out a 4 percent increase in taxable sales in January in an economy more dependent on tourists.

Basalt Finance Director Judi Tippetts said the town’s January report will be adjusted because several restaurants haven’t reported their sales taxes yet. The decline after adjustment will likely be 12.5 to 12.75 percent, she said.

The fiscal year-to-date figures, which reflect sales in December and January, are down nearly 10 percent, or $65,950, from the prior year, Tippetts said.

The boost that some businesses received from Christmas shoppers in December evaporated in January. Sales by general retail businesses were down 14.75 percent. Sporting retail sales were off 18.5 percent. Sales of building materials fell 30 percent, and even liquor stores saw a 31 percent tumble.

Basalt’s bread and butter is sales by retail food stores, which are dominated by City Market. Sales in January were down 12 percent, the town report shows.

For the town government, sales tax revenues from retail food operations fell to $95,054 in January from $108,430 the year before.

Basalt officials hoped to put a tough 2009 behind them. Taxable sales were down 13 percent in 2009 compared to 2008. No turnaround appears imminent.

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