City sees 10% spike in sales tax receipts
Ryan Summerlin September 4, 2014
Sales tax receipts in Glenwood Springs jumped nearly 10 percent in July compared with last year, the city reported late Tuesday afternoon.
“We haven’t seen a number like that in years,” City Manager Jeff Hecksel said of the 9.63 percent year-over-year increase.
Finance Director Michael Harmon said July showed the best such monthly percentage increase since 2008, when the Great Recession hit Glenwood.
Building materials and supplies showed among the strongest increases year to date over 2013, rising 9.81 percent to $862,421. That’s important, Hecksel said.
“Building materials is a big number that continues a strong trend that I’ve been seeing,” he said. The increase “can show that segment of the economy, which has been strong in the past, is picking up.”
Depending on the type of work being done, sales of building materials can reflect optimism among homeowners making improvements or added work for contractors, which can lead to hiring.
For the year, Glenwood’s overall sales tax receipts are up 4.83 percent from 2013.
That, too, is trending for 2014 to be the best year in some time, Hecksel said. The holiday season will be important to overall results, he said.
The city general fund relies on sales for half to 55 percent of its money, and “Glenwood has struggled to get out of the trough” since the recession, Hecksel said. “We were still double digit below ‘08 when I last checked. We still have some ground to make up when it comes to overall sales taxes.”
In other categories, lodging revenue, which has been strong all summer, is up 11.64 percent for the year to $799,596.
Eating/drinking place tax revenue, critical to the city, is up 4.88 percent to $1.18 million.
Both point to a rebound of the tourism industry, which Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park owner Steve Beckley said is going strong.
“It was a phenomenal summer,” he said. He said Glenwood Caverns was up 7 percent in attendance so far this year, and up 10 percent in revenue.
“Hopefully we’ll just keep things rolling all the way into November,” he said, noting that the park will launch Winter on the Mountain this year, with half a million lights adorning the park.
In other categories, year to date:
• Miscellaneous retail, which includes recreational marijuana sales that started in May in Glenwood, is up 8.51 percent to $929,862. Marijuana sales are not broken out, so no one can say for sure what drove the gain.
• Automotive spending is up 7.19 percent to $890,220.
• Food store sales are up 4.13 percent to $1.082 million.
• General merchandise, the single biggest category, is down 1.58 percent to $1.54 million.