Glenwood sales taxes continue upward trend
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The height of the summer tourist season brought continued positive news to Glenwood Springs in the form of another monthly sales tax increase for July.
City finance officials reported a sales tax increase of 2.14 percent in July, compared to sales collections for the same month last year. That follows a 4.66 percent increase in sales taxes during June.
The city collected $1,225,417 for July of this year, up from $1,199,785 in July 2010.
The July sales figure was also more than for July 2009, when the city brought in $1,221,478. It remained below the pre-recession 2008 figure of $1,466,666 for that same month, however.
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It was the sixth straight month of sales tax increases for the city this year. For the year to date, sales taxes are up slightly less than 1 percent, according to the July report.
Likewise, the city’s accommodations (lodging) tax continues to outpace the last two years on a month-to-month comparison. The lodging tax brought in $102,637 for July, up from $93,447 last July and $88,621 in July 2009. To date this year, lodging tax collections are up 8.5 percent.
“Things look very positive,” Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association President and CEO Marianne Virgili said. “It does appear that sales taxes have stabilized and are now trending upwards, and that’s good news for Glenwood Springs.”
The National Speleological Society annual convention, which brought more than 1,200 people to Glenwood Springs in July, can be looked to as one factor in the sales tax increase, she acknowledged.
“We also had a lot of positive PR in May and June that really carried over into the summer,” Virgili said.
Glenwood Springs was named Rand McNally’s “Most Fun Town In America” in June, and in May the Travel Channel’s Burt the Conqueror paid a visit to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
“The tourism businesses were very happy with the summer, and I believe the retail businesses were happy as well,” Virgili said. “Compared to other Colorado resorts, I think we’re really strong this year.”
However, she did note that the construction and real estate industries, two of the larger employers in the area, continue to struggle after the recession.
Tom Fleming, program manager for the Glenwood Springs Downtown Partnership, said he has heard a lot of positive comments from downtown business owners about the summer season.
“It will be interesting to see the August numbers as well,” he said. “In general, everyone seems to be feeling much better about things compared to last summer.”
While the Glenwood Springs sales tax numbers were up this summer, the same has not been true in neighboring Carbondale.
Sales tax collections in Carbondale were down for July by another 2 percent, from $312,352 for the month last year to $306,109 this past July. The only month this year in which sales taxes were up was February, when the town saw a 2.16 percent increase. To date, sales taxes are down 1.55 percent for 2011.
“I think the overall mood remains positive, and we’ve seen a lot of community efforts to try to increase business,” said Sherri Harrison, executive director of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce.
Local businesses, gallery owners and arts and other nonprofit organizations have teamed up to offer more attractions during the monthly First Friday art walk in Carbondale, she noted.
“We just don’t have the same kinds of funds for tourism marketing that some of the other communities have, so we try to do other things to attract people to Carbondale,” Harrison said.
Carbondale, like Glenwood Springs, also collects a lodging tax. However, while collections have remained on track with the tourism marketing budget this year, they remain down compared to last year, she said.
“We were ahead of our budget by 3.4 percent in July, but still down compared to July of last year,” Harrison said. “June was down 21 percent from 2010.
“A lot of that is due to the fall off we’ve seen in the construction industry,” she said. “That’s what used to fill up our lodges, especially during the week.”
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