Grand Valley tax collections continue to trend upward

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Sales and use tax collections continue to rise in the Grand Valley, a reflection of what one official said she considers stabilizing conditions bolstered in part by the summer tourism business.

The City of Grand Junction reported a 5.6 percent increase in sales and use tax collections in July compared to the same month last year. Mesa County reported an even larger proportional gain of 6.3 percent.

“I think we’re holding our own,” said Jodi Romero, financial operations director for the city.

The City of Grand Junction reported collecting a total of more than $4.58 million in sales and use taxes in July. That’s an increase of nearly $242,000 and 5.6 percent over the same month last year. Sales tax collections rose 3.4 percent, while the more volatile use tax collections jumped 53.3 percent.

Mesa County reported collecting a total of almost $2.83 million in sales and use taxes in July. That’s an increase of nearly $167,000 and 6.3 percent over the same month in 2014. Sales tax collections climbed 6.8 percent, while use tax collections rose 1.3 percent.

July collections reflect June sales.

Romero said summer tourism continues to bolster retail sales and, in turn, sales tax collections. Lodging tax collections in July, a measure of hotel and motel stays, increased 18.3 percent on a year-over-year basis.

The jump in use tax reflects the sale of equipment for energy exploration and production businesses, she said.

The increase in county sales tax collections reflected a 7.1 percent year-over-year increase in collections from retail sales. Among other industries, the largest proportional increases were reported in the oil and gas, construction and automotive sectors. Collections from the hotel and restaurant sector rose 8.6 percent.

For reports covering the first seven months of 2015, the city collected a total of almost $29.5 million in sales and use taxes. That’s an increase of more than $1 million and 3.6 percent over the same span in 2014.

The city budgeted for a 3 percent increase in sales tax collections this year.

Year-to-date sales and use tax collections for the county totaled nearly $18.6 million. That’s an increase of  more than $1 million and 6.1 percent over the same period  last year. The county budgeted for a 2 percent gain in sales tax collections.

Romero said city tax collections were somewhat unpredictable at the beginning of the year but since have settled into an upward trend. “After an uneven start, we’ve stabilized.”

For the second quarter, sales tax collections increased on a year-over-year basis for most categories, including a 6.1 percent gain in the broad category that includes appliance, clothing, electronics, furniture and sporting goods stores. Tax collections rose 1.5 percent for the category that includes department stores, superstores and warehouse clubs. Collections from restaurants and bars rose 5 percent, while collections from hotels rose 9.2 percent. Collections from motor vehicle sales edged up almost 1 percent, while collections from construction sales fell 4.9 percent.

Among geographic areas of the city, sales tax collections were up 4.8 percent along U.S. Highway 6 & 50 between First Street in Grand Junction and Fruita. Collections were up 2.7 percent at Mesa Mall and 24 Road, 2.1 percent in the downtown district and seven-tenths of a percent along North Avenue.