Phil Castle, The Business Times
Sales and use tax collections continue to rise on a year-over-year basis in the Grand Valley, the latest numbers buoyed in part by increased sales related to the tourism and energy sectors.
The City of Grand Junction reported a 6 percent increase in combined sales and use tax collections in June. Mesa County reported a slightly larger proportional gain at 6.7 percent.
“We went back in the right direction,” said Jodi Romero, financial operations director for the city.
The City of Grand Junction reported collecting a total of nearly $4.26 million in sales and use taxes in June, an increase of more than $241,000 and 6 percent over the same month last year. Sale tax collections rose 2.1 percent, while use tax collections jumped more than 145 percent.
According to reports covering the first half of 2015, the city collected a total of nearly $24.9 million in sales and use taxes. That’s an increase of nearly $790,000 or 3.3 percent over the first half of 2015.
Mesa County reported collecting a total of more than $2.81 million in sales and use taxes in June, a year-over-year gain of nearly $176,000 and 6.7 percent. Sales tax collections increased 8.6 percent, while use tax collections decreased 9.5 percent.
First half sales and use tax collections for the county totaled nearly $15.75 million, a gain of more than $900,000 and 6.1 percent.
Sales taxes constitute not only an important source of revenue for local governments, but also a key measure of retail activity. June reports reflect May sales.
City sales tax collections rebounded in June after two months of slight declines in year-over-year comparisons.
Romero attributed the June gain in part to the beginning of what she hopes will be a busy summer tourism season.
Lodging tax collections in June, a reflection of hotel and motel stays in May, totaled nearly $160,000, a 6.4 percent gain over June 2014. Romero said she expects sales tax collections to continue to increase through the summer along with tourism-related sales.
Tax collections from department and home improvement stores continue to increase, Romero said, as do collections from auto sales.
Meanwhile, use tax collections reported in June more than doubled on a year-over-year basis as a result of increased sales in the energy sector, Romero said. Use taxes are collected on equipment, construction materials and other items purchased outside city limits, but then used inside the city.
While the first half of 2015 was “a little bit unpredictable,” Romero said she expects a stronger second half. “Overall, I still think we’re seeing the stable local spending or small growth.”
The city has budgeted for a 3 percent increase in sales tax collections in 2015. Half way through the year, combined sales and use collections have outpaced the budget nearly 1 percent.
Eleanor Thomas, budget manager for Mesa County, said county sales tax collections continue to rise on a year-over-year basis and should meet what’s budgeted for 2015 as a
2 percent gain.
Thomas attributed more than half the June gain in sales tax collections to increased sales in the oil and natural gas and mining sector. Auto sales also were up, she said, while hotel and restaurant sales increased slightly and sales at home improvement stores held steady.
County sales and use tax collections in the first half of 2015 exceeded budget projections by 1.1 percent.