Mesa County sales tax collections continue to outpace 2011

Sales tax collections in Mesa County continue to outpace last year, resulting in a double-digit increase in year-over-year comparisons for the first quarter.

The trend bodes well not only for county coffers, but also the local economy. Sales tax collections offer a direct indicator of retail sales activity.

The county collected a total of more than $2 million in sales taxes for its capital improvement and general funds, according to its March report. The county also collected nearly $780,000 in taxes distributed to cities and towns in the county, including Grand Junction.

The latest figures constitute a nearly 9.8 percent increase over the numbers in the March 2011 report.

Through the first quarter of 2012, Mesa County reported collecting a total of more than $6.7 million in sales taxes for its capital improvement and general funds. The county collected more than $2.5 million it distributed to cities and towns.

Those figures represent a 10.1 percent increase over reported collections for the first quarter of 2011.

The trend so far in 2012 extends a rebound in sales tax collections for the county that followed declines in 2009 and 2010. Annual sales tax revenues plummeted nearly 21 percent in 2009 and fell another 6.4 percent in 2010. Tax revenues rose nearly 7 percent in 2011.

Since tax reports lag a month behind collections, March reports reflect sales in February. Reports for the first quarter actually reflect sales that occurred between December and February and include a portion of holiday sales from the year before.

Mesa County assesses a 2 percent sales tax with 1 percent allocated to a capital fund used to pay for the construction of roads, bridges and other large projects. Of the remaining 1 percent, 0.45 percent goes into the general fund for operational expenses. The other 0.55 percent goes to cities and towns in the county.