‘Things are starting to get less bad’ for Eagle County revenues | VailDaily.com

‘Things are starting to get less bad’ for Eagle County revenues

Chris Outcalt
Eagle County, CO COlorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Eagle County, Colorado Finance Director John Lewis thought March was going to be a bad month for sales tax in the county.

Revenue was down 20 percent compared to the same month last year, but it’s not as bad he thought it was going to be.

“Things are starting to get less bad,” Lewis said. “Sales tax didn’t continue down as badly as we thought it would. We’ll see if that stabilizes in the next few months.”

Sales tax in January and February was down 24 percent and 18 percent respectively, compared to 2008. County officials budgeted for a 5 percent decrease in sales tax ” which amounts to about $427,000 ” in the 2009 budget. Only about 20 percent of the county’s budget is made up of money from sales tax.

“We’re still in OK shape ” it’s not great but it’s OK,” Lewis said. “We are not going to spend all of our contingency by year end.”

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The county started the year with about $5 million of contingency money. If sales tax revenue is down 15 percent for the year, that would account for about $1.8 million of that contingency, Lewis said.

The key will be finding some contingency money for the 2010 budget, he said.

“We have to be ready for whatever happens,” Lewis said. “I’m proud of the fact that we read that ahead of time and had a nice contingency ” we have to make sure we’re doing the same thing next year.”

Building permit revenue ” which was down 45 percent in the first quarter of 2009 compared to 2008 ” has also dipped below what the county budgeted for. County officials were anticipating a 30 percent decrease.

Lewis thinks the county’s April sales tax numbers could be a lot closer to what they were in 2008 because Easter was in April and Vail Mountain stayed open a week later.

Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or coutcalt@vaildaily.com.

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