Sales report shows Basalt’s economy still sputtering
BASALT – Basalt’s sales tax revenues were up slightly in February compared to 2010 but the results from the first quarter of the fiscal year show the town’s economy is still sputtering.
Basalt’s sales tax revenues were up 3.6 percent in February compared to the same month the prior year, according to a report by the town finance department.
Sales by retail food establishments, which include City Market and Clark’s Market, carried the month with a 6.3 percent increase. That is important because grocery store sales account for about 44 percent of the town’s sales tax revenues.
The good month wasn’t shared by all. Sales by general retail stores – including many of the mom-and-pop type businesses in Basalt – were down almost 17 percent, the report said. Restaurants with bars were down 3.2 percent.
In the bigger picture, sales from December through February were down almost 2 percent compared to the same period in 2010. Basalt is still feeling the sting of the recession more than two years after it hit. Sales in 2010 were down sharply from 2009, and in some areas they still haven’t bottomed out.
Retail food stores have managed a 2.15 percent increase in sales during the first quarter of the fiscal year. Liquor stores posted a 2.8 percent increase. Sporting goods stores logged a healthy 11.5 percent gain in sales.
Lodging sales were up almost 67 percent for the three-month period, but still lagged significantly behind the pre-recession period of early 2008.
All other major sectors of the economy were flat or suffered through reduced sales through the first quarter. Restaurants with bars saw only a 0.57 percent increase. General retail was down 17.5 percent. Sales of building materials were down 13.4 percent.
Summer is Basalt’s bread-and-butter season, so there is still time for the town’s economy to pull out of its tailspin.
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After nine months of being shuttered due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Wheeler Opera House will reopen for local acts. A touchless reservation system will be open to 53 people for in-person at the venue. Online live streaming also will be available.