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Gypsum says it’s prepared for downturn

Katie Drucker
Eagle correspondent
Gypsum, CO Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyGypsum, Colorado resident Neal Hirsch shops for a few items Monday at Columbine Market in Gypsum.
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GYPSUM, Colorado ” With the combination of this summer’s planned airport closure and the recession, town of Gypsum, Colorado officials anticipate a 12 percent decrease in sales tax revenue for 2009.

In 2008, $5.7 million in sales tax was collected ” a 6.6 percent increase from 2007.

So far this year, Gypsum is about 6 percent down in sales tax revenue.



Mark Silverthorne, Gypsum finance officer, said while the airport is not yet closed, most of the decrease in Gypsum’s sales tax revenue thus far is due to a lagging sales at the airport.

Gypsum collects sales tax from the jet center, rental cars and the airport restaurant.



“Other businesses aren’t down, down, down,” Silverthorne said. “But the airport is a luxury item.”

Silverthorne notes that another industry hurting in Gypsum is construction.

“January is always a slow month for building,” says Silverthorne. “It is too early to tell how bad the economy is going to get.”



But Gypsum is prepared to handle whatever comes its way, says Gypsum Town Manager Jeff Shroll.

Shroll notes the town was conservative with the 2009 budget” cutting over $1 million in improvements, such as road repairs.

The town only has two targeted projects ” Eagle River Estates road paving and adding a turning lane at the intersection of Highway 6 and Valley Road, Shroll said.

If something catastrophic happens with the economy these projects can be put off, Shroll said. He adds that the town has also identified about $2 million in other cuts, if necessary.

In addition, the town is under a hiring freeze.

Shroll said the town does not have much debt, making Gypsum more able to endure this bad economic time. Gyspum staff also reassures that a down year in sales tax will not affect paying the Recreation Center bonds off.

“We are planning on paying the bonds off early. This one year is not going to really impact it,” said Silverthorne.


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