Sales tax 2 percent below `normal’
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The good news is that July 2003 sales and accommodation tax revenues were up in Glenwood Springs.
The bad news is that they were only up when compared to 2002, one of the city’s worst economic years in recent history.
July 2003 sales tax revenues totaled $946,843, up slightly from the $946,012 collected in 2002, and 2 percent below the July 2001 collections of $967,466.
Through the first seven months of 2003, sales tax revenues are down 0.35 percent, or $20,000, compared to the the first seven months of 2002.
But when compared to the last “normal” year of 2001 – that is, a year without fires and mudslides to keep tourists away – sales tax revenues are down 2.26 percent year to date.
Total sales tax revenues through July 31 are $5.7 million, compared to $5.8 million in the first seven months of 2001.
sales tax: see page A7
sales tax: from page A3
According to the story told by the numbers, people are coming here, but they aren’t spending as much as usual.
The city’s accommodation tax revenues are down less than 1 percent from June 2001 levels and actually eclipsed July levels from that year.
Compared to 2002, June 2003 accommodations tax revenues jumped by 11.6 percent, and July 2003 revenues jumped by 7.1 percent. The city has collected a total of $287,275 in lodging taxes through July 31.
Larry Gruber, owner of Glenwood Music in downtown Glenwood Springs, said the up-and-down economy has made it difficult to plan a budget for his store.
“May and June were really good,” he said, “but July and August were some of the worst I’ve seen in eight years.”
He said it’s difficult to tell how the economy of the city is really doing because of the lag in reporting time of more than a month.
“What’s really goofy is that it seems like when the stock market’s up, people are buying. And when it’s down, they’re not, even though it has no bearing on my store,” Gruber said.
Joan Chaffin, owner of the Mountain Peddler gift shop, said her store has stayed about where she was in 2002 in terms of sales.
“We’re staying fairly even with last year, which is a positive to me because of increased competition and a soft economy,” she said.
She expressed some concerns, however, with the pending Grand Avenue Paving Project, which is set to start in March 2004.
“They’re going to have to figure out some incentives,” she said. “We’re all going to be in the same boat. But anyone who starts the year in a bad position, it could push them under.”
Chaffin, whose shop sells gifts and decorative accessories, recently visited Jackson Hole, Wyo., and said downtown Glenwood Springs could take a lesson from that town.
“Jackson is comparable to Glenwood in size and it’s booming,” she said. “They have done a lot in their downtown.”
The whole town has a Western theme that the architecture reflects.
“Our town doesn’t have an overall theme,” she said. “Jackson knows who they are and they went with the Western theme. . There isn’t a whole lot of imagination in Glenwood.”
Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511
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