Sales tax collections remain ahead of last year
Phil Castle, The Business Times:
Sales and use tax collections in Mesa County remain ahead of last year, a key indicator of increased retail activity.
Lodging tax collections continue to lag behind last year, though, while other measures of tourism remain mixed.
The City of Grand Junction reported collecting a total of more than $3.9 million in sales and use taxes in August, an increase of almost 9.4 percent over the same month last year.
Mesa County reported collecting a total of just over $2.2 million in sales tax for its capital improvement and general funds. That figure is up nearly 6.4 percent over August 2010.
Mesa County collected an additional $841,302 in sales taxes it distributes to cities and towns in the county, including Grand Junction. That number is similarly up almost 6.4 percent from last year.
Since tax reports lag a month behind, August reports reflect spending during July.
Jessica Peterson, director of public relations for Mesa County, said the latest numbers reflect a continued trend of increased sales. “It’s a certainly a good sign for the local economy.”
For reports covering the first eight months of 2011, the City of Grand Junction collected a total of more than $32 million, an increase of just over 9.4 percent for the same span in 2010.
Mesa County collected a total of more than $17.1 million in sales tax for its capital improvement and general funds during the first eight months of 2011. That total comes in 8.8 percent ahead of the same span in 2010.
Mesa County collected another $6.5 million in sales taxes it distributed to cities and towns in the county, also up 8.8 percent from last year.
The city assesses a 2.75 percent sales tax, with 0.75 percent allocated to capital construction projects.
Mesa County assesses a 2 percent sales tax. Of that, 1 percent goes into a capital fund used to pay for the construction of buildings, roads, bridges and other large projects. Of the remaining 1 percent, 0.45 percent goes into a county general fund used for operational expenses and 0.55 goes back to cities and towns in the county. Sales and use tax collections account for about 19 percent of county revenue.
The latest tax revenue statistics come as the city and county prepare budgets for 2012.
While increasing sales tax revenues bode well, Peterson said county officials are bracing for a decrease in property tax revenues related to lower property values. Property tax accounts for about 20 percent of county revenue, she said.
The Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau reported $119,718 in lodging tax collections in August, down 5.3 percent from the same month last year. The August reports reflect hotel and motel stays in July.
For reports for the first eight months of 2011, the VCB reported collections of $720,842. That total is down 1 percent from the same span in 2010.
Several other measures of tourism activity in the Grand Valley offered mixed results, the VCB reported.
Unique visits to the VCB Web site were up more than 14 percent in August and 19 percent year to date. The number of in-state visitors to the Grand Junction Visitor Center was up 2.8 percent year to date, while the number of international visitor was up 1.6 percent. Visits by out-of-state visitors was down, however, nearly 5 percent.