City finishes ’05 with strong tax increases
Year-end numbers confirm it: Glenwood Springs officially has turned the economic corner.Buoyed by the October opening of Glenwood Meadows, the city’s 2005 sales tax revenues were $11.2 million, up 11.1 percent over the prior year. December revenues increased 27 over December 2004.Last year’s revenue total also is significant in that it surpassed the $10.7 million generated in 2001. The city’s sales tax revenues had been on a downward slide during each of the three years that followed, thanks to factors such as the national recession, Glenwood’s Coal Seam Fire of 2002 and increased regional competition.Also reflecting the city’s rebound were 2005 lodging tax revenues, which totaled $571,000, up 10.5 percent from 2004. The city’s tourism industry had been strong all year, posting double-digit increases in eight different months, starting as early as last January.Sales tax growth was more moderate early in the year. However, September revenues were up 11.5 percent over the previous September, showing that the city’s economy was strengthening even before the first store in the Glenwood Meadows commercial development opened.October revenues, which reflected the opening of Target at Glenwood Meadows, were up 14 percent over October 2004. The subsequent openings of Lowe’s and other stores there contributed to a 34 percent November increase.Though December revenue growth still was strong over the same month a year earlier, December is always a big month for sales tax income, which could help explain why there was less of a percentage increase in December than in November, city finance director Mike Harman said.January and February tend to be the slowest months of the year, so the increase from Glenwood Meadows may be magnified in the next few monthly sales tax reports from the city. Then again, the post-holiday impact may hit the new development as well.”Target and Lowe’s, their January and February might be slow just like everyone else’s,” Harman said.It probably will take a year or two before the real effect of Glenwood Meadows on the city’s tax base will become clear, Harman said. Other unknowns are what new regional competitors it could face, and to what degree Glenwood Meadows will draw customers from competition within the city.”The newness factor wears off and they may go back to old shopping habits, whether it’s a Wal-Mart or Kmart or whatever,” he said.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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