Rifle’s July sales tax revenue remains down, but…
Citizen Telegram Editor
To try to put a silver lining on the July sales and use tax report, Rifle Finance Director Charles Kelty noted the percentage decrease in several funds wasn’t a great as previous months.
But it was still down.
Rifle’s struggling economy continued its downward trend, compared to Kelty’s revenue projections, once the city’s three-quarters of a cent sales tax for a new $25 million water treatment plant is discounted.
With that tax, total sales, use, and lodging tax revenues for the seven months ending July 31 is $4.7 million, Kelty wrote in his monthly report to the city council, a 12 percent increase from the previous year’s $4.2 million.
Kelty noted the city’s general fund, street improvement fund, parks and recreation and visitors improvement fund were down four percent for July, compared to 10 percent in June.
“I guess you could say that’s a hopeful sign to me, but we’re still lower than I had hoped,” he said. “I’m projecting we’ll be down by seven or eight percent by the end of the year. I’ve been optimistic for months, but we just keep seeing more of the same.”
Keeping in mind some of the numbers include the water plant sales tax, Kelty also reported:
• Sales tax revenues are $4.2 million and a 12 percent increase from the previous year’s $3.8 million. Building and motor vehicle use tax revenues are $383,000, a 15 percent increase from the previous year’s $334,000.
• Lodging tax revenues are $69,000, an 8 percent increase from the previous year’s $64,000.
• General fund revenues are $4 million, compared to the prior year’s $4.3 million, which is $289,000 or 7 percent less. Sales taxes collected year-to-date are $2 million, compared to last year’s $1.9 million, which is $155,000 or 8 percent less.
• General fund expenditures are $4.4 million, compared to the prior year’s $4.9 million, which is $532,000 or 11 percent less.
• Water fund revenues are $2.6 million, compared to last year’s $1.6 million, which is slightly more than $1 million or 67 percent higher. The main reason for the revenue increase is the three-quarter cent sales and use tax that began on Jan. 1. Revenues from sales taxes for the water treatment plant were $746,000.
• Water fund expenses are just under $2 million, compared to last year’s $1.7 million, which is $257,000 or 15 percent higher. Operating and maintenance expenses are 18 percent higher than last year. Water rights expenses are 37 percent less than last year. Water system improvements expenses are 19 percent higher than last year.
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Garfield County commissioners want to get a better sense of the local economic impacts of the state’s new oil and gas regulations that came as a result of the 2019 passage of Senate Bill 181.