Basalt sales tax revenues soar to record in 2014 | AspenTimes.com
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Basalt sales tax revenues soar to record in 2014

Basalt sales tax collections

2014: $4.22 million

2013: $4.09 million

2012: $3.43 million

2011: $3.18 million

2010: $3.15 million

2009: $3.30 million

2008: $3.80 million

Basalt ended 2014 with a 3.3 percent gain in sales tax revenue over the record set in 2013 and an 11 percent gain over prerecession levels.

The town collected $4.22 million in sales tax revenue during its fiscal year, which reflects sales made by businesses from December 2013 through November 2014. That was $135,291 more than revenue collected in 2013, according to the report by Assistant Town Manager and Finance Director Judi Tippetts.

Basalt’s business community as a whole shook off the recession in 2013 when sales tax revenue soared by more than $500,000 and topped $4 million for the first time. However, the growth was spotty. Most of it was in the retail-food category, which reflected the first full year that Whole Foods Market was open at Willits Town Center.

Grocery stores weren’t able to increase sales in 2014 over 2013, according to the town’s report. Retail food generated $1.93 million in sales tax revenue last year and $1.92 million the prior year.

Following are other notable trends in 2014:

Sales by general retail stores were flat compared with a strong 2013. Sales tax revenue generated by Basalt’s mostly mom-and-pop stores was down 0.92 percent to $643,204. The general retail sales category is the second most important to the Basalt economy.

Sporting goods retailers logged their fifth consecutive year of growth. They generated $195,905 in sales tax revenue in 2014, up 12.44 percent.

Restaurants with bars saw their sales climb 8.6 percent in 2014, while restaurants without bars soared 23 percent. Sales tax revenue from restaurants with bars hit $352,575, while restaurants without bars generated $122,299 in revenue.

Liquor stores’ sales were up nearly 10 percent. They generated $225,686 in sales tax revenue.

Store that sell building materials had a breakout year with 19.3 percent growth. However, sales still significantly lag behind the prerecession 2008 level. Building materials generated $239,048 in sales tax revenue in 2014. They generated $373,183 in 2008.

Lodges generated 39.33 percent more in general sales tax than they did the prior year. They produced $63,189.

Automotive-related businesses were flat for the year. They generated sales tax revenue of $178,862, up less than 1 percent from the prior year.

Sales tax revenue is vital to the town’s budget. Taxes of all types are expected to generate $5.7 million for Basalt in 2015. Of that amount, the general retail sales tax and an additional sales tax dedicated to open space account for 80 percent of tax revenue.

Basalt’s 2014 sales tax revenue was up $420,921 above the 2008 amount of $3.8 million. However, much of that growth comes from the opening of Whole Foods.

The town government has budgeted 1 percent growth in sales tax revenue for 2015. Most governments guess conservatively on sales tax growth, figuring it’s easier to spend unplanned funds than offset missing revenue.

scondon@aspentimes.com


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