Vail’s October sales tax numbers stagnant |

Vail’s October sales tax numbers stagnant

Cliff Thompson
Preston Utley/Vail DailyChris Mullineux, right, of Ironwood, Mich., does some shopping in Vail Village Tuesday with friends Caryn Reib, left, and Lauri Neibauer, both from Mellen, Wis.

VAIL -Vail’s collection of its October sales tax flattened to a 0.3 percent increase over last year despite healthy increases in lodging and food and beverage sales.It follows a booming September that saw the town’s collections of its 4 percent tax increase nearly 11 percent. The sales tax collections indicate there was $12.7 million in taxable sales in town. The total collections increased by just $1,778 to $509,134. Sales tax collections are generally viewed a barometer of business activity.But there’s a Jekyll and Hyde-ish nature to the collections between Vail Village and Lionshead. In September Vail Village posted solid gains while business activity in Lionshead slumped. In October, however, the trend reversed itself with Lionshead up 7.4 percent and Vail down 2.9 percent.Collections for the summer in Vail were flat with a 1.3 percent increase – less than inflation – but collections are up a healthy 5.5 percent year to-date, reversing a decade-long trend of flattening or declining sales tax in Vail. Downvalley competition that siphoned business away from Vail and an aging town have been blamed for the decrease.

“September and October weren’t as good as November,” said Loren Gifford of Vail Valley Ace Hardware in West Vail, adding that the unseasonably warm weather may have had an effect. November’s numbers haven’t been compiled yet. Waiting for skiersRetail sales didn’t do as well as other sales categories across town. They were down 6.5 percent while lodging was up 7.1 percent; food and beverage sales up 2.1 percent utilities and other sales were up 4.1 percent.Vail Village was down 2.9 percent in overall sales with lodging down 11.9 percent and retail and food and beverage sales down 0.4 and 1.1 percent respectively. In Lionshead lodging, food and beverages sales tax collections were up slightly more than 15 percent, but retail sales were down 4.9 percent.

In East and West Vail, Cascade Village and Sandstone sales tax collections were up 1.4 percent with lodging up 24.4 percent and food and beverage sales up 3.6 percent. Retail sales were down 5.6 percent.At Bart ‘N’ Yeti’s Restaurant in Lionshead, co-owner Bill Jewitt reported business was up just a skosh over last October.”You really can’t read too much into October,” he said. “You’re just going through the motions waiting for ski season.”Operation bootstrapThe decade-long downward trend in sale tax collections that make up 45 percent of the town’s annual revenue forced budget cuts.

It also inspired $1 billion in public and private slopeside redevelopment in Vail and Lionshead over the next six years. That redevelopment is occurring in one of the hottest real estate markets ever to hit the area, with sales this year expected to break the $2 billion mark. The so-called “Vail Renaissance” will result in several of the older properties in Vail being replaced with newer, larger structures. One of those is Crossroads Shopping Center that was built in 1968. There’s a proposal to replace Crossroads with a project that will be 500,000 or more square feet in size and cost up to $200 million.Vail Resorts is and will be developing up to $500 million worth of slopeside property in Lionshead, Vail Village and elsewhere by 2010.Staff Writer Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or Colorado

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