Slight increase seen in Rifle revenue for September |

Slight increase seen in Rifle revenue for September

At last.

After more than a year of monthly declines in sales and use tax revenue — discounting the 3/4 cent water treatment plant sales tax hike — there was a hopeful sign in the September sales and use tax report for the City of Rifle.

“We saw a small increase in the government funds,” said Finance Director Charles Kelty. “It was just one percent, but that’s the first month we’ve seen any kind of increase in what seems like ages.”

Government funds are the general, street improvement, Rifle Information Center, parks and recreation and water funds, which saw more than $725,000 in revenue in September. A year ago, those funds were nearly $586,000.

“I’m encouraged about the September numbers and anxious to see what October looks like,” Kelty said. “We’re holding our own overall, but it’s a little lower” than budgeted.

Overall, total sales, use and lodging tax revenues for the nine months ending Sept. 30 was $6.1 million, a 14 percent increase from the previous year’s $5.3 million. Those numbers include revenue from the water plant sales tax, which can only be used to repay the $25 million loan the city will use to build the new plant or for construction costs, Kelty noted.

September sales tax revenues were $5.5 million, 15 percent more than last year’s $4.8 million. Building and motor vehicle use tax revenues were $491,000, a 12 percent increase from the previous year’s nearly $439,000.

Lodging tax revenues were close to $94,000, 5 percent more than last year’s $89,000.

Among specific categories, Kelty noted hardware was up 40 percent, while oil and gas continued to show the sharpest decline at 45 percent less than September 2012.

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