Gypsum sales tax is up, town ahead of budget

Derek Franz

Gypsum sales tax is up 3.4 percent over the same time period last year, December through April.

“We’re a home-rule municipality, so we can collect our own sales tax, which means we have it about a month earlier than municipalities like Eagle, which get their sales tax after the state collects it,” said Gypsum Finance Director Mark Silverthorn.

The year-to-date total for 2013 sales tax is $2.56 million. At this time last year, it was $2.48 million.

“We are $35,267 ahead of our budget estimates on sales tax for this time period,” Silverthorn said. “Our revenue from the Eagle County Regional Airport took a hit in December, when people were canceling ski vacations for lack of snow, but the other businesses made up for it.”

Gypsum sales tax auditor Lynn Trudeau estimates 10 more businesses are operating in Gypsum this year.

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“It’s hard to say exactly, since we don’t track those numbers and not all the businesses paying sales tax have storefronts here,” she said. “The number is climbing slowly, though, with maybe a couple businesses opening each month.”

Gypsum Town Manager Jeff Shroll has a theory for that.

“I think Gypsum residents are seeking to diversify the town with jobs,” he said. “Instead of driving upvalley for employment, I think our residents are trying new businesses here at home. We’re excited about those.”

The town recently collected five applications for the first offering of the Gypsum Business Grant – an account with $60,000 to award grants up to $10,000 for a new business or improvements to a business. The winners will be announced in July.

The lowest year for Gypsum sales tax was 2009 and it’s been steadily climbing since then, Silverthorn said.

An oddity showing up in this year’s numbers is with building fees – they’re down almost $24,000 from last year’s $75,000. Those are fees collected from December through June 18.

Meanwhile, water tap fees are up $26,000 over last year’s $101,180.

Gypsum Building Inspector Mark Gunther said the reasons for those differences are a 50 percent reduction in building fees for Habitat for Humanity and an 80 percent reduction in plan-check fees for a project in Stratton Flats.

“The company building Stratton Flats – The Pauls Corporation – has a repetitive plan,” Gunther said.

That means the company has a master plan for each model and only pays the plan-check fee once per plan even though each plan is being used for more than one home.

Gypsum Town Council approved the discounted fees for Habitat earlier this year.

“We’re looking into it to make sure, but those two things are probably why the numbers are different this year,” Gunther said. “Last year to date, we had 21 single-family home permits and this year we have 22, so we are pretty much exactly where we were last year.”

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