First-quarter sales tax gains recorded in Eagle

EAGLE — For the second year straight, the town of Eagle has seen growth in first quarter sales tax receipts, giving local officials new evidence that the community is climbing out from the depths of the national recession.

Because of the delay in getting numbers from the state of Colorado, the most recent sales tax report for Eagle reflects spending that occurred between January and March. Overall, the town recorded a 6.8 percent increase over 2012 figures for a total of $725,553.

That good news builds on good news from 2012, when the town recorded a 6.5 percent increase in sales tax receipts during the first quarter. By the conclusion of 2012, the town’s sales tax dollars increased 2.6 percent overall for a total of nearly $2.8 million.

“We had a three-year slide from 2009 to 2011 that brought us down roughly $500,000, which is a big deal for Eagle,” said Eagle Town Manager Jon Stavney. “But the first quarter of 2013 is looking more like figures from 2007.”

Eagle is highly reliant on sales tax dollars for its annual operating funds. The town hit its sales tax peak in 2007 with total collections of more than $3.2 million. By 2009, total collections had fallen to $2.7 million and the lowest point came in 2010 when sales tax receipts bottomed out at $2.6 million.

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As for individual sales tax collection categories, the biggest gains were in the food sales and utilities. Building materials sales formerly contributed large sums to the town’s coffers, but experienced a huge drop after 2007. Building materials sales tax saw a modest 3 percent increase from 2012 to 2013.

Market Street continues to be the biggest economic driver for Eagle, contributing 40 percent of the town’s total revenues. The downtown area contributes approximately 7 percent of the revenue and saw a 20 percent increase during the first quarter. The Eagle Ranch area contributes approximately 4 percent of the revenues and saw a 9 percent increase. The only area that saw a decline was business along the U.S. Highway 6 corridor, which was largely due to Eagle Auto Parts closing.

“Broadway’s numbers are the best since 2006, which is encouraging,” said Stavney. “And the hotel numbers are climbing too, and they are doing it without full occupancy because several of the hotels are undertaking renovations and they don’t have the seasonal construction workers for long term stays like they did in the past.”

Stavney noted that while the first quarter numbers are encouraging, Eagle’s biggest sales tax collection months happen during the summer and early fall.

“The good news is we are climbing out of the sales tax slide,” he said

Along with the sales tax numbers, Eagle is seeing an increase in building permit numbers so far for 2013.

To date this year, the town has issued 40 permits for a total new valuation of $2.1 million. That figure includes seven new single family homes, one new commercial building, and 36 remodels or alterations.

During the same period during 2012, the town issued 34 building permits.

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