Tax collections trend upward

Phil Castle
Phil Castle

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Tax collections continue to trend upward in the Grand Valley on increased sales of automobiles and more activity in the energy sector.

While business isn’t necessarily booming, a lengthy string of year-over-year increases in collections reflects improving conditions, said Eleanor Thomas, budget manager for Mesa County. “I think the local economy is doing pretty well.”

The City of Grand Junction reported a 10 percent increase in combined sales and use tax collections in November compared to the same month last year. Mesa County reported an even larger proportional increase at 12.7 percent. November collections reflect October sales.

Combined sales and use tax collections have increased on a year-over-year basis for eight consecutive months for the city and nine straight months for the county.

For November, the city collected a total of more than $4.3 million in sales and use taxes. That’s an increase of $390,327 over the same month last year. Sales tax collections rose 9.3 percent. Use taxes, a smaller and more volatile source of revenue that for the city reflects activity in the energy and construction sectors, jumped 15.6 percent.

Jodi Romero, financial operations director for the city, said each of the top five categories of businesses that together account for about 75 percent of sales tax revenues showed growth compared to last year. Motor vehicle sales were up nearly 19 percent.

Mesa County collected a total of more than $2.8 million in sales and use taxes in November. That’s an increase of $318,994 over the same month last year. Sales tax collection rose 10.9 percent. Use tax collections jumped 31 percent on the increased sales of automobiles purchased outside Mesa county, but used in the county.

Thomas said automotive sales outside and inside the county continue to drive increased tax collections. But there have been gains in other industry categories, including a 16.3 percent increase in telecommunications and 13.4 percent increase in home improvement. Tax collections in the oil and natural gas sector jumped 112 percent, although the number was low last year. Collections in the retail category advanced 7.6 percent.

“Those are all very positive things,” Thomas said.

The November numbers bring year-to-date sales and use tax collections for the city to nearly $48.5 million. That’s an increase of more than $3 million and 6.7 percent over the same span last year. Sales tax collections rose 6.3 percent, while use tax collections were up 22.6 percent.

The $161.6 million city budget for 2018 includes what’s projected as a 1 percent increase in sales tax revenues.

For Mesa County, year-to-date sales and use tax collections totaled more than $30.5 million. That’s an increase of almost $2.3 million and 8 percent over the same period last year. Sales tax collections climbed 7.7 percent, while use tax collections rose 11.6 percent.

The nearly $166 million county budget for 2018 includes what’s forecast as a 2 percent increase in sales tax revenues.

Meanwhile, lodging tax collections also continue to increase in Grand Junction. For November, $127,037 was collected. That’s an increase of $9,982 and 8.5 percent over the same month last year. November collections reflect hotel and motel stays in October.

The November numbers bring year-to-date lodging tax collections to almost $1.4 million. That’s an increase of $39,355 and 2.5 percent over what was collected during the same span last year.