County tax collections continue upward trend

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Mesa County tax collections continue to increase, with year-over-year gains in a range of industry sectors.

“These are all good numbers,” said Eleanor Thomas, budget manager for the county.

Mesa County collected a total of nearly $3 million in sales and use taxes in April, an 8.7 percent increase over what was collected for the same month in 2017. April collections reflect March sales.

County sales tax collections increased almost $196,000 or 7.8 percent. Use tax collections, most from the sales of automobiles purchased outside the county and used inside the county, rose more than $41,000 or 17.8 percent.

Thomas said sales tax collections in April from the retail sector rose 5.3 percent with increased sales of sporting goods, health and personal care items and clothing.

Tax collections also increased on the sale of construction materials and home improvement merchandise, she said.

Proportionally, tax collections jumped 93.7 percent in the oil and natural gas sector, 72 percent in the telecommunications sector and 25.4 percent in the transportation sector.

For the first four months of 2018, Mesa County collected a total of more than $11.3 million in sales and use taxes. That’s a 13.3 percent increase over the same span in 2017.

Sales tax collections increased more than $1.1 million or 12.5 percent. Use tax collections increased nearly $180,000 or 21.4 percent.

Year-to-date collections on retail sales were up 5.5 percent. Sales tax collections in all other sectors were up 16.3 percent with the biggest gains in the oil and natural gas, telecommunications and utilities sectors.

Thomas said rising sales tax collections reflect improving economic conditions in Mesa County that include lower jobless rates and accelerating real estate activity. “Sales tax is just following along.”

The county initially projected a 2 percent increase in overall sales tax collections for 2018.

Thomas declined to predict if actual collections will exceed that portion or by how much. But she said she remains optimistic for now the upward trend in collections will continue. “We can hope so.”