Eagle County sales tax 16 percent off 2008 | VailDaily.com

Eagle County sales tax 16 percent off 2008

EAGLE, Colorado – As county officials start work on the 2010 budget, they’re still getting an idea of where the county’s finances, and particularly, sales tax collections, will end up this year.

Based on the most recent data – for May – the drop from 2008 has been steep. May’s collections are about 24 percent behind the same month last year. But, since May makes up less than 5 percent of the county’s sales tax pie, the more telling number is the year to date. That’s better, but not by a lot.

Through May, county sales tax collections are 16 percent down from 2008. County officials originally budgeted a 5 percent drop, but adjusted their estimates as the national economic slump worsened over last winter.

The current estimate is for a 20 percent drop, and county finance director John Lewis said the numbers are working out close to that.

But, he said, the county might not run a deficit this year.

Commissioner Sara Fisher said the reason the county will likely have enough money to finish the year with money in the bank is that the commissioners agreed to budget money over the course of the year instead of most of it at once.

Lewis said current estimates indicate the county will finish the year with about 15 percent of this year’s budget in reserves, as well as $6.6 million in contingency funds. But, Fisher said, obligations for next year will probably knock that contingency fund down to $1.5 million or so.

“We’re still in good shape,” Lewis said. “Our planning for this year paid off. And we have a plan to do similar planning for 2010.”

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or smiller@vaildaily.com.

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