Basalt’s economy shows signs of life in first quarter |

Basalt’s economy shows signs of life in first quarter

BASALT – Basalt’s economy showed modest signs of growth during the first quarter of the fiscal year.

Sales tax revenues were up 2.7 percent during December, January and February compared to the same period the prior fiscal year, according to a report by town finance director Judi Tippetts.

The town government collected $848,936 during the first quarter. That’s a better start than the last two years, but not back to pre-recession levels. In the first quarter of fiscal year 2008, the town collected slightly more than $1 million.

Sales by grocery stores and other retail food outlets – the biggest contributor to the town’s economy – are flat so far this year compared to the same period last year. They have generated $401,639 in sales tax revenues for the town, or about 47 percent of the total.

Sales of building materials were up almost 15 percent from the first quarter of fiscal year 2011, though sales still lag way behind pre-recession levels.

The big gainers over the first quarter were restaurants with bars. Sales were up nearly 24 percent over the same period last year, and it was the best opening quarter in five years. The Brick Pony Pub bar and restaurant opened in late 2011 and brought new life to downtown.

General retail stores had a strong month in February, and their collective sales during the first quarter of the fiscal year are up 7 percent. Sporting goods retail stores were up 10.4 percent. Retail liquor stores saw sales sag 3.7 percent for the quarter.

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