Are business numbers a trend or glitch?

Cliff Thompson

EAGLE – With business across Eagle County booming this ski season, Eagle County’s sales tax collections for January were a lackluster 3.3 percent – half of what was budgeted.The county collected $1.18 million from its 1.5 percent tax in January, or $35,264 less than budgeted. That reflects gross sales of $2.35 million. January’s collections are reported in March.

It’s a reversal of previous months’ sale tax reports. The answer to what’s going may reflect the intricacies of how businesses report sales rather than any economic trends, said Mike Roeper, county finance director.”Sometimes during this time of year a vendor or two is sometimes delayed a month in reporting,” he said. “I’m guessing that’s what happened.”The county will be analyzing the reports on a business-by-business basis, Roeper said, to find any discrepancies or shortfalls.

A preliminary analysis shows the dip in collections was most pronounced in the unincorporated areas in which the county collects taxes. During ski season, unincorporated sales tax collections, at $403,970, are second only to Vail’s $473,000.The county’s year-to-date collections are up 11.65 percent and 1.55 percent above budget. Tax collections in unincorporated areas so far this year are up 12.55 percent, county records show.

Another indicator of the economic vitality – the number of passengers at the Eagle County Airport – are up 14 percent in January, according to the county.A broader indicator of the health of the ski season economy is the profit of Vail Resorts, which, among other things, operates four ski resorts in the Eagle and Summit counties. The company last week reported record net profit of $32.2 million for its second quarter, which ended Jan 31.

Staff Writer Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or, Colorado

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