EAGLE — For the second straight quarter, the town of Eagle has reported sales tax gains.
The town’s municipal sales tax receipts were up 6.1 percent compared to the same period in 2012. That gain comes after a 7.5 percent increase for the first quarter of the year.
The town’s second quarter receipts totaled $679,836 compared to $657,464 during the same period last year. Year-to-date sale tax numbers for Eagle are topping $1.4 million, compared to $1.3 million last year.
“We believe we are basically going to reach close to $3 million this year,” said Eagle Town Manager Jon Stavney.
That’s good news on the budget front because the town had projected a $2.8 million final sales tax tally for its 2013 spending plan.
But according to Stavney, while the final figure is the keystone of budget discussions, the numbers themselves tell an equally intriguing tale.
The town hit its sales tax zenith in 2007 when it collected more than $3.2 million. But at that time, the building materials category contributed $422,000 of the total — behind food sales, restaurants and bars. But by 2012, that building materials number had shrunk to $144,000.
“If we hit $3 million (in 2013 sales tax collections) and the peak was when we had $3.2 million, the difference is in building materials,” said Stavney.
Declining building materials sales tax numbers demonstrate the construction slowdown around town that happened in the wake of the Great Recession.
Last year, there were no permits issued for new commercial buildings, although there were 23 permits issued for commercial alterations totalling $577,000 in new valuation. There was only one new single family home permit issued.
Those numbers are up in 2013, albeit far from the boom days numbers of the early 2000s.
The town has recorded one new commercial building permit and 18 alteration permits totalling $1.9 million in new valuation. Thirteen new single family home permits have been pulled, totalling nearly $3.8 million in new valuation.
Tied to this construction increase, building materials sales are also up — totaling nearly $77,000 year-to-date compared to $62,000 in 2012.
“While the numbers right now are somewhat stronger, it’s compared to basically zero,” said Stavney. “But it is encouraging.”
Stavney noted that Eagle’s sales tax gains since 2008 have come from steady increases in the food category. Retail has also seen an upward trajectory while restaurants and bars and liquor sales have fluctuated.
“Why is the food category steadily growing? Because our population has steadily grown,” Stavney said.
Eagle’s overall sales tax news to date in 2013 is positive, but when compared to its neighboring towns, Eagle has the largest sales tax gap to make up looking at figures from 2008 compared to 2012.
In 2008, Eagle’s sales tax collections totalled $3,194,945 — $69,865 more than the total collected in 2012.
That’s a nearly 13 percent drop and that’s the largest comparative decrease of any municipality in the Eagle Valley.
In neighboring Gypsum, sales tax totalled $5.8 million in 2008 and $5.3 million in 2012 — a 4.6 percent decline.
Avon recorded a 2.8 percent drop during the same period while Vail, which reported sales tax topping $20 million last year, actually recorded a 2 percent increase from 2008 figures.
“It could be argued that 2008 was an anomaly for all entities,” said Stavney. “It was at the peak of construction, but that’s where people think things are going to stay.”
The 2013 sales tax collections by neighborhood continued the traditional pattern.
The Market Street area, which includes City Market, contributes the largest sales tax of the town’s receipts — 38 percent.
From there, Chambers Avenue businesses bring in 22 percent. The downtown area businesses contributed 8 percent and Eagle Ranch businesses contributed 5 percent of the total.
“While the numbers right now are somewhat stronger, it’s compared to basically zero.”
Eagle Town Manager