Financial numbers through July up over last year |

Financial numbers through July up over last year

Carolyn Sackariason
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” At the midpoint of the year, City Hall’s financial coffers are more full than than last year in terms of sales tax revenue.

City Hall Finance Director Paul Menter said in his latest sales tax report that all major industry categories have posted year-to-date gains in 2007.

Sales tax collections for July are 7.4 percent from the same month last year and 6.1 percent up year-to-date over 2006. Lodging tax collections for July are up 1.9 percent and 9.3 percent year-to-date.

“Historically, July represents an average of 10.4 percent of our total annual sales tax revenues,” Menter wrote in his report. “At this time of our fiscal year, we usually have an average of 60 percent of our total sales taxes collected for the year and an average of 67 percent of our total lodging taxes collected for the year.

“Annualizing these trends, it would appear that we will have approximately $11,200,000 in sales tax collections at year end, representing a 5.8 percent increase over 2006.”

Menter also estimates that the city will have about $1,175,000 in lodging tax collections at year end, which represents an 8.4 percent increase over 2006.

The only notable declines in retail sales have been the sports equipment and clothing sector, which is down 3.9 percent year-to-date, as well as the utilities and communications, which is down 6 percent for the year.

Real estate transfer tax revenue continues to decline dramatically. The violatle real estate market is showing signs of stagnating, especially with fewer fractional ownership unit sales, according to finance officials.

The tax revenue that supports the Wheeler Opera House is 20 percent behind in collections over last year. However, because city officials budget conservatively, the tax revenue is 36 percent ahead of the 2007 budget.

The real estate transfer tax that funds the housing program is 14 percent behind in collections through August and 30 percent ahead of the 2007 budget.

Year-to-date, the Wheeler Opera House transfer tax collections through August amount to $3,509,125. And for the housing fund, collections come in at $6,478,083.