Sales taxes for 2015 were up countywide, with Breckenridge collections peaking at $17.89 million last year. According to the December sales tax reports, released mid-February, the town’s net taxable sales were up 9.51 percent from 2014.
The town’s three largest categories, short-term lodging, retail and restaurants/bars brought in the majority of sales at 24.96 percent, 24.59 percent and 21.84 percent respectively.
Breckenridge tax auditor Leslie Fischer noted most sales-tax categories exceeded pre-recession levels by the end of December.
“That’s fairly consistent with what we’ve been seeing across the county,” she added.
Construction and retail saw significant sales increases in 2015, at 24.28 percent and 11.73 percent respectively. “Weedtail,” a category including recreational and medical marijuana sales, was down 6.94 percent year-to-date with several fluctuations throughout 2015.
“2015 was erratic for weed,” Breckenridge financial services manager Brian Waldes said. “At first, when we saw a decrease from March through July, we felt that was the result of obvious causes: increased competition in the county, as well as the novelty factor wearing off. In August, it started going back up from prior years. We couldn’t tell you why. … In December, it just tanked 36 percent.”
He noted the town was confident in its numbers based on a recent, successful audit of all dispensaries in Breckenridge.
“We’re searching for reasons,” he added, noting that with just 24 months of history, it was difficult to pinpoint.
Silverthorne saw a whopping increase of 12.83 percent for December collections (reported at $1.2 million), with total collections for 2015 up 7.9 percent at $10.17 million.
“I think our new businesses help,” Silverthorne revenue administrator Kathy Marshall said, pointing to the Murdochs and the brand-new Hampton Inn.
Silverthorne’s largest collections for the month stemmed from consumer retail ($318,074), outlets ($269,197) and building retail ($262,081). In December, as in November, sales at the Outlets were reportedly down from 2014. Building retail, however, was up a whopping 55 percent.
“I’m impressed that building is up; I think it’s a sign that the economy is doing well,” Marshall added.
The town’s lodging tax, in particular, saw large increases month-to-month and year-to-date. With $187,720 in collections, the lodging tax was up 16.9 percent from 2015, and in December, increased 43.4 percent following the opening of the new hotel.
“A portion of that was due to the Hampton, but also from short-term rentals. We really kicked it up a notch the last quarter of 2015,” Marshall said. “A lot of that is timing; November was down a little bit and I think we had some late remittals. But a new hotel would definitely build that up.”
LODGING COLLECTIONS UP
Frisco sales tax collections were up 13.13 percent year-to-date, at $7.75 million through the end of 2015. As seen in previous months, grocery, liquor and restaurant collections continued to peak past sales tax revenues in 2014. Marijuana revenues were strong throughout 2015, bringing in $172,764, up 79.48 percent year-to-date.
“It appears to us that the rising tide is floating all boats,” Frisco revenue specialist Chad Most said. “By end of 2015, all but one of the categories exhibited growth. Which is quite incredible across the board.”
For the month of December, revenues were at $875,120, up 5.38 percent from 2014. The town’s lodging tax was also up 6.71 percent for the month, and 9.86 percent year-to-date, with vacation rentals accounting for nearly one-third of the total.
“I’m fairly sure occupancy rates are increasing at hotels, inns and vacation rentals,” Most said. “Vacation rentals are very slowly becoming a bigger percentage of lodging taxes here.”
Dillon saw a remarkable increase in lodging taxes for the month, up 32.25 percent from December 2014. The total tax collections for the town year-to date were up 10.53 percent, at $5.94 million.
“It’s pretty difficult to determine what exactly the cause is,” Most added. “Certainly there’s an increase in visitors, and local employees are having a bit better of a year than last year.”