Basalt tax collections decline in October
December 18, 2009
BASALT – Sales tax collections dropped again in Basalt during October, though not as much as in previous months.
Sales tax revenues were down 10.2 percent for the month compared to October 2008, according to a report by town Finance Director Judi Tippetts. The figure might look slightly better than it really was because some past due amounts were paid by liquor stores and utility companies in October, the report says.
While a 10 percent loss is nothing to brag about, it’s an improvement over recent months. Basalt sales tax revenues fell 22 percent in September, 11.7 percent in August, 24 percent in July, and 17 percent in June.
Retail spending remained respectable in Basalt last fall despite the start of the recession, so the current comparisons are to decent months. Sales tax collections were up about 3 percent in October 2008 from 2007, for example. Tough economic times didn’t affect Basalt sales until early this fiscal year.
For the fiscal year-to-date, which started last December, sales tax collections by the town government are down 13.2 percent, or nearly $500,000. Total revenues have sagged to $3.06 million from $3.53 million, the town report shows.
All of Basalt’s major economic sectors have suffered lower sales during the recession.
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Sales by retail food stores, which include City Market, are down 4.4 percent for the year. General retail stores have experienced a cumulative drop of 28.1 percent. Restaurants with bars, one of Basalt’s strong suits, are off 20 percent. Liquor stores are flat.
With one month remaining in the fiscal year, Basalt is likely to have its lowest level of sales tax collections in three years. Town government officials aren’t anticipating significant recovery in 2010. The budget for next year anticipates flat tax revenues.