Sales tax collections way down in Glenwood |

Sales tax collections way down in Glenwood

Pete Fowler
Glenwood correspondent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Glenwood Springs sales tax revenues are continuing the icy plunge through the colder months of 2008, according to November figures released Wednesday.

Revenues by month began dipping below the same months in 2007 in June.

November marked the worst month of 2008 by the largest margin, at 7.53 percent below November 2007. For the year through November, sales tax revenue was 0.14 percent below the same period in 2007.

Accommodations tax on short term lodging also took a huge hit in November. After starting in January 20.65 percent up, November 2008 was 13.69 percent below November 2007. It was 0.6 percent down for the year through November compared to the same period in 2007.

Hot Springs Lodge and Pool general manager Kjell Mitchell said, “We’re at this point slightly down in pool revenue and a number of people in lodge occupancy, but it’s just a few percent.”

He said the lodge and pool is pleased that it’s been able to stay relatively close to where business has been.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park spokeswoman Mandy Gauldin said in an e-mail, “Numbers were down a little in November, but overall, 2008 was a strong year for the adventure park.”

People with other local businesses did not return messages Thursday.

Despite the recession and declining sales and lodging tax revenues, Glenwood Springs city officials approved a budget last month described as “status quo” based on projections of a 2 percent increase in sales tax this year. Though that increase now seems unlikely, city officials have said they have large cash reserves that can carry through years of economic downturn and they can cut spending later if needed.

The City Council also approved merit-based pay raises for city employees of up to 2 percent. That was less than the traditional 3 or 4 percent. The City Council vowed to consider bigger raises retroactively if the economy improves this year.

President-elect Barack Obama reportedly warned Thursday that time is running out to prevent a “deep and severe” recession lasting years. Retailers around the country reported dismal December sales figures Thursday that marked the worst holiday sales since at least 1969.

Wal-Mart surprised observers by cutting its fourth-quarter earnings outlook. Macy’s said Thursday it will close 11 stores in nine states, two of them in Colorado, affecting 960 employees. One will close in Colorado Springs and another in Westminster.

Aspen’s sales tax revenue slipped 5.5 percent and its lodging tax revenue was down 25.1 percent in November 2008 compared to November 2007. But Aspen was still up on both revenue streams for the year through November. Even though both of the revenue streams were looking better in Aspen, the Aspen City Council has said Aspen’s budget must project 0 percent sales tax growth.

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