City sales tax slide continues, but September ’01 hard to beat
Sales tax revenues from September in Glenwood Springs crashed this year compared to September 2001, but numbers can be deceiving.
The September 2002 sales tax revenues of $957,000 were down 9.6 percent from September 2001, building on a downward trend for the year.
But the month-to-month comparison may be unfair, because sales tax revenues in September 2001 of $1 million marked a dramatic 10 percent spike over taxes collected in September 2000.
It’s believed that in the wake of the terrorist attacks, many people canceled air travel and vacationed close to home, yielding a substantial benefit for Glenwood Springs in September 2001.
By the end of September 2002, city sales tax revenues for the first three quarters of the year were down 3.5 percent from the same period in 2001, according to a report prepared by city finance manager Mike Harman.
Year to date, sales tax revenues for 2002 totaled $7.6 million, compared with $7.9 million in 2001 and $7.1 million in 2000 for the same period.
Following a disastrous June, when the Coal Seam Fire shut down the town for three days and sales tax revenues dropped by 8.7 percent compared to June 2001, revenues continued to fall through the summer.
July revenues were down by 2.2 percent, August revenues were down by 6.3 percent, and the latest figures show that September revenues fell by 9.6 percent, leading to the cumulative decline of 3.5 percent.
Sectors taking the biggest hits were apparel, marking a 13 percent decline; transportation and utilities, marking a 10 percent drop; and furniture and home furnishings, off by 5 percent. Other sectors of the economy were down by 1 to 4 percent, according to Harman’s report.
The figures were presented to the Glenwood Springs City Council on Thursday.
The city’s accommodations tax revenues also fell, dropping by 13 percent in September 2002 over September 2001.
Year to date, accommodations tax revenues total $409,000, compared to $422,000 by the end of September 2001. Losses suffered in June erased all gains made earlier in the year over 2001 figures.
Aside from sales and accommodations tax losses, Harman’s report shows that other city funds remain in good shape.
As of Sept. 30, the city’s electric department reported a net profit of $212,000; the water and sewer department marked a profit of $350,000; and the landfill reported a net income of $912,000.
The new Glenwood Springs Community Center is not recovering as much of its costs as expected, however.
Dan Rodgerson, parks and recreation director, said the facility was expected to collect 63 percent of its costs, but by the end of September, the recovery rate was lagging at 53 percent.
“Our revenues are up, but our expenses are up higher,” he said, noting that many unexpected expenses popped up after the 2002 budget for the facility was finalized.
The city budgeted $684,000 in spending for the Community Center for all of 2002, but actual spending through Sept. 30 was close to $742,000.
Rodgerson expects to make some gains on the recovery rate by year’s end.
“We anticipate finishing the year at close to 60 percent of our operating expenses,” he said.
“November and December are our best months, because we’ll be hosting many holiday parties and bringing in more memberships,” he said.
While the Community Center has been busy hosting a variety of special event functions, one quarter of them have been sponsored by the city and have not paid a rental fee, he noted.
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