Eagle officials hoped to see a 3 percent increase in sales tax revenues during 2014.
That hasn’t materialized yet.
Instead the sale tax data from the first six months of 2014 showed a 3 percent dip for the first three months of the year and then a 1.4 percent increase for the second three months. The town collected $1,425,121 in sales tax between Jan. 1 and June 30 of 2014. That compares to $1,437,203 during the same period during 2013.
“At the six month mark, we are basically flat,” said Eagle Town Manager Jon Stavney.
While he noted the town’s largest sales tax collections traditionally come during the third quarter, Stavney said the town is not proceeding with several expenditures it contemplated contingent on a 3 percent sales tax increase. Most notably, the town had hoped to give employees a cost-of-living pay adjustment for the first time in five years. That’s not going to happen.
While the sales tax report isn’t peachy for the town, it isn’t exactly grim either.
“We are not in a place where we have significant cuts we have to make,” said Stavney. However, he noted that there are some capitol purchases and projects that simply can’t be funded this year as a result of the flat sales tax numbers.
Stavney said that shuttered businesses are likely the biggest reason behind the sales tax receipts drop.
“The upper end of Broadway has a number of empty storefronts,” he said, pointing to the closure of the Old Kentucky Tavern and two other empty retail spaces in that part of town. Additionally, HP’s Provisions in Eagle Ranch closed its doors earlier this year.
Stavney said that the intense construction along Eby Creek Road is likely affecting businesses in the Eagle Commercial Park.
“We haven’t heard a lot of complaints from those businesses, but when it’s done, it will definitely benefit the Interstate 70 service area,” he said.
Stavney also noted that several Eagle motels have tackled renovation projects this year. While that work will hopefully lead to higher occupancy and increased revenues in the years ahead, during 2014 it has meant fewer rooms are available.
Light in the tunnel
There is reason for cautious optimism regarding future sales tax revenues, Stavney said.
In the building materials category, revenues jumped 30 percent in the first quarter and 8 percent in the second quarter compared to 2013. However, for perspective, the total dollar amount for 2014 to date is $89,346. Back in 2007, building materials sales tax revenues topped $200,000 during the first six months of the year.
Stavney noted construction at the Brush Creek Village project and the newly approved Soliel Homes development marks the most residential building the town has seen since 2008.
“There’s a lot more stuff happening out there than we have seen in five years,” he said.