May sales tax up in Rifle |

May sales tax up in Rifle

The City of Rifle reported total sales, use, and lodging tax revenues for the five months ending May 31 was $3.4 million, a 5 percent increase from the previous year’s $3.25 million.

Sales tax revenues were $3 million, 2 percent more than previous year’s $2.9 million. Building and motor vehicle use tax revenues were $353,000, and 39 percent higher than previous year’s $255,000. Lodging tax revenues were $38,000 and 6 percent lower than the previous year’s $40,600.

City Finance Director Charles Kelty offers the following answers to several questions from The Citizen Telegram:

1) How would you characterize this month’s revenues? Can you identify any factors that led to this outcome?

Overall, I was a little disappointed with the May sales tax figures. I am pleased with the 5 percent increase over May of 2013, which puts us at an increase year-to-date of 2 percent. However, I was hoping for a higher increase for the month of May. It would be nice to regain, faster, a little of the revenues we lost in prior years due to the recession.

The following categories were higher than last year: Bars and restaurants (4 percent); car parts and sales (40 percent); food (13 percent); hardware (15 percent); lease/misc. (doubled). The categories that surprised me the most are car parts and sales and leasing and miscellaneous vendors.

The following categories were lower than last year: Liquor (15 percent); motels (32 percent); oil and gas (28 percent); and utilities (1 percent).

2) Did any categories surprise you? If so, explain.

I was most surprised with general retail. There was very little change from the prior year in that category.

3) Where does this leave the city in terms of revenue received vs. budgeted? Where do expenses stand (include a few numbers)?

Below are a few excerpts for the May 2014 financial report I provided City Council on July 16:

General fund – Total revenues were $3.1 million, which compared to the prior year’s $2.8 million and was $352,000 and 13 percent higher. Expenditures were $3 million, which was just $19,000 less than last year.

Parks & Recreation fund – Total revenues were $966,000, which compared to the prior year’s $935,000 and was $31,000 and 3 percent higher. Expenditures were $850,000, compared to last year’s $911,000 and $59,000 and 6 percent less.

Street Improvement fund – Total revenues were $557,000, which compared to the prior year’s $443,000 and was $114,000 and 26 percent higher. Expenses were $79,000, compared to last year’s $156,000 and $78,000 and 50 percent lower.

Water fund – Revenues were $1.6 million, which compared to the prior year’s $1.5 million and was $72,000 and 5 percent higher. Expenses were $1.7 million, while last year’s were $1 million and $641,000 and 60 percent higher. The primary reason for the increase in costs is due to the new water treatment plant debt payments made in January.

Wastewater fund – Revenues were $1.1 million, versus the prior year’s $1 million and $37,000 and 4 percent higher. Expenses were $1 million, versus the prior year and $63,000 and 6 percent lower.

4) Any thoughts on next month? How’s your crystal ball?

The city has started collecting the June sales taxes. However, it is still too early to tell if June will be higher than last year. Additionally, the summer activities, i.e. Rifle Farmers Market and Community Concert Series may encourage visitors from out of the area to spend more time in Rifle this summer.

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