Sales tax collections on the rise

Phil Castle
Phil Castle

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Sales and use tax collections continue to increase in the Grand Valley, buoyed in part by increased automotive and home improvement sales as well as purchases by visitors to the area.

The City of Grand Junction and Mesa County both reported year-over-year gains in sales and use tax collections in September based on August sales.

Collections for the city and county for the first three quarters of 2015 also outpaced the same span in 2014.

“It’s a good sign,” said Jodi Romero, financial operations director for the city.

Since some of the increase is related to seasonal activity, gains could slow in the fourth quarter, Romero said.

But year-end numbers for 2015 are still expected to compare favorably with 2014.

“I think we’re going to finish pretty good,” said Eleanor Thomas, budget manager for Mesa County.

The city reported collecting a total of more than $4.3 million in sales and use taxes in September. That’s an increase of nearly $111,000 or 2.6 percent over the same month last year.

Sales tax collections  rose 4.5 percent, while the more volatile use tax collections dropped 33.4 percent, mostly as a result of slowing activity in oil and natural gas exploration and production, Romero said.

The county collected a total of more than $2.8 million in sales and use taxes, a year-over-year increase of nearly $113,000 or 4.2 percent. Sales tax collections rose 1.2 percent, while use tax collections jumped 31.4 percent.

For the county, use tax collections reflect automotive sales as well as the increased use of mobile machinery in the county for construction, Thomas said.

Romero attributed increased city sales tax collections to automotive sales as well as increased sales related to tourism and special events. Lodging tax collections, a measure of hotel and motel stays, were up 10.4 percent in September, the third consecutive month collections have increased by double-digit proportions.

Thomas cited increased sales of automobiles and home improvement supplies as well as increased hotel and restaurant business.

Total retail sales in the county were up 3.9 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Through the first three quarters of 2015, the city reported collecting a total of  more than $38.1 million in sales and use tax collections. Thats an increase of about $1.3 million and 3.5 percent over the same span in 2014. Sales tax collections rose
2.6 percent, while use tax collections climbed 16.4 percent.

The county reported collecting a total of more than $24.2 million in sales and use tax collections through the first three quarters of 2015. That’s a gain of more than $1.3 million and 5.7 percent over the same span last year. Sales tax collections were up 5.5 percent, while use tax collections rose 7.4 percent.

The city has tentatively budgeted for a 2 percent increase in sales tax collections in 2016, while the county has budgeted for a 3 percent increase.