People spent more at the close of 2003 | VailDaily.com
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People spent more at the close of 2003

Cliff Thompson
Michael Jaques, department head for Millwork, at Home Depot, stocks doors Tuesday in Avon.
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If you’re like most of the people who went shopping last November and December, you probably spent more than you did the year before.

Sales tax receipts for the county’s 1.5 percent sales tax show a 6 percent overall increase to $1.642 million, which was 1 percent higher than expected. The county annually gets $13.9 million – or 18 percent – of its annual revenue from the sales tax.

One of the larger contributors to the overall increase were shoppers in Avon, which jumped 44 percent, from $238,000 to $343,000.

County Finance Director Mike Roeper said he believes that the $105,000 increase for the two months can be attributed to the presence of Wal-Mart and The Home Depot, which opened last spring and summer. Those big boxes each have more than 115,000 square-feet of retail space.

“It’s likely caused by the big boxes,” he said. “It’s a good start. It’s a reflection the economy is picking up and that the effects of Sept. 11 have subsided.”

Retail activity increased in Vail 5 percent, or $29,000. Minturn’s retail activity jumped 31 percent and increased county sales tax receipts for the two months by $6,400. Part of that increase is being attributed to Minturn’s Winter Market.

Gypsum, too, showed significant growth, 8 percent – or $5,700 – more than the same period last year, Roeper said.

But sales in unincorporated areas was down by $4,000 or 0.7 percent, Roeper said.

One town, Eagle, was down by $33,000 – or 33 percent – compared to the same period last year, Roeper said, but that may be more due to an accounting matter than the reality of the marketplace.

The state, which collects sales tax money and then disburses it to counties, adjusted the receipts for last year by adding to the total receipts. That made this year’s total appear smaller by comparison.

“Last year’s number was something of an anomaly,” he said.

Cliff Thompson can be reached via e-mail at: cthompson@vaildaily.com or by calling 949-0555 ext. 450.


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