County sales tax collections up 5.5 percent |

County sales tax collections up 5.5 percent

by Lynn Burton
Post Independent Staff

Retail sales are up 5.5 percent countywide in unincorporated areas compared to last year, according to Garfield County’s most recent sales tax report.

For retail sales that occurred from January through August outside of cities, the county has collected $3.9 million from its 1 percent sales tax, compared to $3.7 million for the same time period in 2002.

The sales tax increase is on target with projections the county used last year to determine this year’s budget.

“We budgeted a 5.5 percent increase for 2003,” said Garfield County finance director Jesse Smith. “It looks like we’ll be close to that number by the end of the year.”

Garfield County’s 1 percent sales tax makes up approximately 14 percent of the county’s $44 million budget for 2003, Smith said, and is expected to generate $6.2 million by year’s end.

The county actually assesses two sales taxes, which total 1 percent on retail sales.

– A 0.25 percent tax, approved in 1981, goes to fund the county library system.

– A 0.75 percent tax percent, approved in 1996, goes to the county’s road and bridge fund, the general fund, the countywide emergency communication system and the county’s six towns.

County sales tax receipts lag two months from the actual date of sales, so year-to-date figures in the county’s 10-month, Oct. 31 report, include sales in November and December 2002, Smith said.

A breakdown of how the sales tax has been disbursed through Oct. 31 is as follows:

– Library system ” $1.2 million.

– Emergency communications ” $900,000.

– General fund ” $925,000.

– Road and bridge ” $1.3 million.

– Towns ” a total of $463,000, divided by $91,000 for Carbondale, $124,000 for Glenwood Springs, $51,000 for New Castle, $47,000 for Silt, $111,000 for Rifle and $39,000 for Parachute.

Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534

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