Rifle, New Castle, Parachute see large increases in sales tax from 2002
Special to the Post Independent
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” It was a roller-coaster ride in 2003 for local economies.
The increase in sales tax revenues for communities around Garfield County ranged from increases of 17.8 percent in Rifle to a cumulative two-year loss of 4.7 percent in Carbondale.
Though Carbondale reported an increase of 0.92 percent in 2003, that increase followed a loss of 5.65 percent in 2002.
Carbondale lost 5.65 percent in 2002 due to $66,000 in extra taxes it had collected from a single vendor over many years.
In 2001 Carbondale collected $2.15 million in sales tax, and in 2003 collected $2.05 million, a loss over the two years of 4.7 percent.
Nancy Barnett, Carbondale’s financial director, attributed the decline to a sluggish national economy and lack of growth.
“People weren’t spending as much,” said Barnett.
She said that the loss couldn’t be attributed to any one industry, as the sales tax base in Carbondale is fairly diverse.
Though Carbondale’s sales tax revenue was down significantly, other communities fared much better.
In Parachute, sales tax revenues were up 16.2 percent in 2003 to $474,800, from $408,700 in 2002.
“It was great,” said Parachute town administrator Juanita Satterfield.
Satterfield attributed the growth in the town’s sales tax revenue to an increase in oil and gas employees in the area and the Colorado Department of Transportation’s rest stop off Interstate 70.
Oil and gas employees stop in Parachute often for meals, vehicle maintenance and stays in hotels, said Satterfield.
The rest stop near Parachute also provides easy access to gift shops, restaurants, and other businesses in Parachute.
Satterfield said that while not many new businesses have opened in Parachute in the last year, “the ones that are here are growing and doing well.”
New Castle also had a significant increase in sales tax revenue, with a 13.8 percent increase in 2003 over 2002.
In 2002 New Castle collected $726,180 in sales tax revenue, and in 2003 the town collected $876,752.
An increase in population in New Castle, the opening of a Comfort Inn and a few new businesses in town probably accounted for the increase, said Lyle Layton, New Castle’s finance director.
Though no single business or factor was responsible for the increase, Layton said, all the small increases in sales tax from various sources added up.
Despite the success of some communities, Garfield County’s sales tax revenues were fairly flat compared to recent years.
Over the last 10 years, countywide sales tax revenue has increased an average of 7.8 percent each year.
The last two years, however, have been the poorest years in terms of sales tax revenue increases for the county. Revenues grew 2.3 percent in 2002 to $5.9 million and 3.45 percent in 2003 to $6.1 million.
Garfield County Treasurer Georgia Chamberlain blamed a poor national economy for the flatter growth rate.
Chamberlain also noted that the $6 million in revenues did not all go to the county. She said it was divvied up between many different agencies, including the library, communications and municipalities.
Silt’s sales tax revenue report was incomplete. Silt collected $232,071 in sales taxes in 2003, but wasn’t able to provide an accurate figure for 2002. In 10 months of 2002, excluding January and February, Silt collected $194,732 in sales tax revenue.
Acting finance director Kyra Hogan was unable to find a complete number for 2002.
Rifle had the highest increase in sales tax revenue with a 17.8 percent increase, while Glenwood Springs saw a decrease of 2.5 percent from 2002 to 2003.
The loss in Glenwood Springs’ revenue is largely due to the opening of the new Super Wal-Mart in Rifle.
Contact Ryan Graff: 945-8515, ext. 534
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