Rifle sales tax revenue sees 10% increase from 2014 | PostIndependent.com

Rifle sales tax revenue sees 10% increase from 2014

Ryan Hoffman

Rifle appears poised to close out 2015 with increased sales tax revenue compared with 2014.

The numbers in the November 2015 sales tax report, which includes receipts from October, show a 10 percent increase in year-to-date revenue. That amounts to nearly $7.2 million in revenues through October 2015, compared with $6.5 million through the first 10 months of 2014.

Motels and food were among the sectors with the largest sales tax revenue growth — motels increased to $228,285 in 2015 from $188,768 in 2014, and food increased to $1.1 million from $931,854 in 2014.

General retail also saw a bump in sales tax revenue from nearly $2.7 million in the first 10 months of 2014 to just under $3.2 million in 2015.

With prices at the gas pump staying at low levels after plunging downward toward the end of 2014, sales tax revenues from oil and gas took a significant hit of 39 percent, from $367,918 in the first 10 months of 2014 to $224,720 during the same time period in 2015. Revenue from the city’s use tax also fell from $225,975 in 2014 to $178,072 in 2015.

The numbers in the report, which was presented to City Council on Jan. 6, are unaudited. City staff does not anticipate much variation between the audited numbers and the pre-audit numbers, said Matt Sturgeon, city manager.

Overall, the numbers show relative stability in Rifle’s current economic pulse. The most recent projections for sales tax revenues for 2015 are about $60,000 below the budgeted amount. However, those most recent projections would still be an increase of nearly $71,000 over 2014.

While Rifle has seen steady increases in sales tax revenues since 2013 — the first year of implementation for a voter-approved sales tax to fund the city’s new water treatment plant — the city is taking a conservative approach in 2016, with budgeted revenues at roughly $28,000 less than the most recent projections for 2015.

“However, as has been the case since 2009, staff is taking a very conservative approach to forecasting revenues, which is reflected in the recommended expenditures,” a memo in the 2016 budget states. “Global economic unpredictability, a presidential election and the absence of predictable regional economic trends make it necessary to recommend the city take care not to add programs and expand operations beyond its current capacity.”

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