Sales tax figures: Basalt’s booming |

Sales tax figures: Basalt’s booming

Basalt’s business boom is paying dividends to town coffers.Sales tax revenues collected by the town government from January through May 2004 surged 16.5 percent compared to the same period in 2003, according to town finance director Renae Gustine.”The trend for the last five months in definitely upward,” Gustine wrote in a report to the Town Council.May was a strong part of the trend, with sales tax revenues up 10.5 percent. (Sales tax receipts reflect sales from the prior month; taxes are paid in the month after they are collected.)Gustine said the surge for the first five months of 2004 bodes well for the town because July and August are typically the busiest months of the year. The town depends heavily on summer tourism and particularly on anglers hitting the Fryingpan and Roaring Fork rivers.Gustine credited an influx of new businesses for the increase. Several stores and restaurants opened last fall and this spring. The highest profile among them are the Dogwood Grill in downtown, the Willits General Store and Willits Wine and Spirits.New businesses usually draw additional spending because people are anxious to check out a new establishment. Gustine said it remains to be seen if the new businesses will create additional spending in Basalt for the long haul or if they will just slice the pie further.So far, the businesses are generating additional spending. Slightly more than $700,000 has been collected in sales tax revenues by the town so far this year, establishing a record. The previous record of just below $700,000 was set in 2001. Sales tumbled in 2002 and slipped further in 2003 when the national economy suffered the doldrums after 9/11.Gustine’s report showed that retail food businesses, a category that includes the El Jebel City Market, are enjoying one of their best years ever. They have accounted for about $300,000 of the $700,000 in sales tax revenues so far this year.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is

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