Back to the past for Rifle sales tax revenue |

Back to the past for Rifle sales tax revenue

The spark of hope from September’s sales and use tax revenue up-tick did not start a fire.

For the month of October, Rifle’s businesses reported a 4 percent drop in sales revenues to the city of Rifle. Year to date, the city is down 5 percent, said Finance Director Charles Kelty, not counting the 3/4 cent sales and use tax designated for the new $25 million water treatment plant.

“We’ve really seen month-to-month decreases all year, except September,” he said. “It will be interesting to see what the November numbers look like, but I don’t really know what to expect.”

Kelty reported a 1 percent increase in revenue for the city’s government funds in September — the general, street improvement, Rifle Information Center, parks and recreation and water funds. Those funds receive most of the city’s sales tax revenue.

The November and December holiday shopping season is the city’s biggest in terms of sales tax revenue, Kelty added.

“But will it be higher than last year?” he asked. “Rifle seems to always be in an economic bubble and doesn’t see things turn around with the rest of the state.”

The city has a hold-the-line 2014 budget, with no increase in sales tax revenue expected, Kelty noted.

“If we’ve bottomed out, we’d start to see an increase, but I can’t predict we’ll see that happen” next year, he said.

Key revenue areas like oil and gas continue to show double digit declines, Kelty stated, with bars and restaurants holding their own.

In his report to the City Council, Kelty noted that when the 3/4 cent sales tax is included, total sales, use and lodging tax revenues for the 10 months ending Oct. 31 was nearly $6.8 million, a 15 percent increase from the previous year’s $5.9 million. Revenues from the water plant sales tax were close to $1.2 million for the month.

Overall sales tax revenues were $6.1 million or 15 percent more than the previous year’s $5.3 million. Building and motor vehicle use tax revenues were $547,000, an 11 percent increase from the previous year’s $492,000.

Lodging tax revenues were $103,000, which is 4 percent more than the previous year’s $98,800.

And while general fund revenues — the city’s largest fund — were just under $6.8 million, compared to last year’s $7.5 million and 10 percent less, general fund expenditures were just over $6.8 million, 2 percent less than last year’s nearly $7 million.

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