Basalt sales tax revenues down 4.3% for 2010 |

Basalt sales tax revenues down 4.3% for 2010

BASALT – Basalt town government ended its 2010 fiscal year with a 4.31 percent decrease in sales tax revenues compared to what was a poor showing in 2009.

The town’s total haul in sales tax revenues was $3.15 million for the fiscal year, which started in December 2009 and ended in November. That compares to $3.3 million in 2009 and $3.8 million in 2008, before the recession left its mark.

Sales by retail establishments were up a modest 0.58 percent for the month of November, according to the latest report by Judi Tippetts, town finance director.

For the year, the parts of Basalt’s economy that showed gains over 2009 were restaurants with bars, general retail shops, sporting goods retail shops and lodges.

Sellers of building materials, automotive-related shops, restaurants without bars and liquor stores saw sales sag in 2010 compared to 2009, the report shows.

Retail food establishments, the single-largest contributor to Basalt’s sales tax pie, were down 5.68 percent in 2010, the report shows. That’s on top of a 5 percent decrease between 2008 and 2009.

The retail food category includes City Market and Clark’s Market. The town reaped $1.29 million in sales taxes from the supermarkets and other retail food outlets in 2010, the report shows. That’s down from $1.37 million in 2009 and $1.44 million the prior year.

Building supplies stores are feeling the crush of the recession and its ongoing aftermath. Their sales dropped almost 25 percent in 2010 as new home construction came to a crawl. Sales by those businesses were down 37 percent in 2009 from 2008.

On the positive side of the ledger, restaurants with bars finished the fiscal year with a 10 percent increase in sales. The general retail category, which includes many of Basalt’s mom-and-pop shops, managed a nearly 2 percent increase for the year, while sporting goods retail was up almost 6.5 percent.

Liquor sales are a puzzler. Retail sales actually climbed slightly in 2009 over 2008, shaking off the sting of the recession, but they fell 6 percent last year.

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