Sales tax revenues in Basalt are ahead of last year’s pace |

Sales tax revenues in Basalt are ahead of last year’s pace

BASALT ” Basalt’s sales tax revenues suggest the town’s economy remains on solid footing for the year despite a slump heading into the summer.

Sales tax collections were up 4.5 percent for the town government’s fiscal year through May, according to a report by finance director Judi Tippetts. The town collected slightly more than $2 million from its 3 percent sales tax, compared to $1.92 million at the same point last year, the report shows.

Sales tax reporting lags two months behind because of the time required for collections through the state. The latest report reflects Basalt’s revenues from November through May.

Revenues were up significantly for November through March, then slumped in April and May, the report shows. Revenues were up by double-digit percentages in November, January and March, but in April they fell nearly 5 percent compared to April 2007; in May they fell close to another 5 percent.

The summer months are the bread-and-butter for Basalt’s economy. Restaurant operators say they seat more diners when the rivers are filled with anglers and the Roaring Fork golf club swings into action. No reports on summer sales are available yet.

For the period from November through May, retail food establishments carried the town’s sales taxes, the report shows. Sales by those establishments, which include City Market and Clark’s Market, were up almost 9 percent. The town collected $780,356 in sales tax revenues from retail food establishments during the seven-month period, compared to $1,716,243 during the same period last year. The town will have a third supermarket by 2010, when Whole Foods will be operating a 44,000-square-foot store at the Willits Town Center.

Other sectors that posted gains in sales were restaurants without bars, automotive-related businesses, sporting goods stores, general retail and liquor stores.

Sales by restaurants with bars were down slightly, and sales of building materials were flat. Lodging was off nearly 21 percent from the prior year.

Basalt raised its sales tax by 1 percentage point in 2007. The extra revenues are dedicated to parks, open space and trails.

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