Eagle’s tax numbers flat | VailDaily.com

Eagle’s tax numbers flat

EAGLE, Colorado – Eagle’s nine-month sales tax numbers are in, and the assumption that revenues would remain flat in 2011 has proven accurate.

Actually, dead-on accurate is a better description.

Through the first three quarters of 2011, Eagle has collected $1,968,746 in sales tax. That compares to $1,969,181 during the same period for 2010. The difference is a mere $435.

If the current trend continues through the final quarter of 2011, the town expects to see approximately $2.7 million in sales tax collections for the year.

While Eagle’s sales tax numbers aren’t climbing, at least they aren’t dramatically dropping, which has been the trend since 2008.

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“During 2008, 2009 and 2010, our sales tax revenue went down by approximately 17 percent,” Eagle Town Manager Willy Powell said. “We are glad that sales tax receipts have stabilized at the bottom of the curve.”

Sales tax revenues are the primary funding source for town operations. In 2009, tax sales receipts dropped by 13 percent from 2008 levels, which were 1 percent lower than 2007 collections. The hardest-hit category during the past three years is building materials, which has seen a 68 percent decline since 2007. To date in 2011, building materials receipts are down around 8 percent from the 2010 figures.

The building materials category drop also represents a larger economic issue in the town, Powell said.

“Many people are unemployed or underemployed in real estate development and construction businesses. We are hoping for an upswing there,” he said.

However, for 2012, the town has developed an operations budget that anticipates a 2 percent increase – largely to reflect inflation, rather than an economic rebound.

As far as categories that have seen increases so far in 2011, Eagle’s food sales category is up a modest 1 percent and motels/hotels business 6 percent. Other categories were generally flat.

The businesses located in the Market Street area contribute roughly 50 percent of the town’s total sales tax collections. Chambers Avenue businesses contribute around 30 percent, while downtown businesses make up around 8 percent of the town’s sales tax revenues. Businesses located along U.S. Highway 6 and at Eagle Ranch each contribute about 6 percent of the total.

Last year, as the town contemplated the double-digit dip in sales tax collections, officials launched a marketing program aimed at bringing more business to town. Increased marketing hasn’t yet yielded increased sales tax dollars, but Powell said that’s to be expected.

“When you begin a marketing program, you don’t necessarily experience increased revenues right away. It’s a program that looks to long-term benefits,” Powell said.

In the intermediate to long term, Powell said the town’s marketing program will continue touting Eagle’s attributes to visitors. Additionally, he said, while the effort began a year ago, it only recently secured a long-term funding source with voter approval of a measure on the November ballot to increase the town’s lodging tax from $2 per room, per night to $4 per room, per night. The additional $2 fee will fund marketing efforts.

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