Sales tax collections up 14.6 percent in August

According to Archuleta County Finance Director Larry Walton, the total sales tax collection for August 2015 was $817,251.54, which is $103,836.62 or 14.6 percent higher than the same month in the previous year.

Walton explained that until this month, every month in 2015 has contained a certain amount of back-tax collections, mostly from 2013 and 2014, but the size of these anomalous collections has steadily declined from $98,000 in January to $8,195 in July. There were no back taxes collected in August.

Year-to-date collections for 2015 sales tax are $890,941 or 19.2 percent ahead of 2014, but Walton clarified that $233,395 of that is from back taxes, so the real growth rate so far this year is actually 12.6 percent.

All sales tax generated within the county, regardless of whether it comes from a business within the town limits or not, is split evenly between the town and county. However, the Colorado Department of Revenue continues to disburse all of the local sales tax revenue to the county, despite repeated requests from the town that it receive its share directly. For August, the town’s share was $408,625.77.

During last year’s budget season, the Pagosa Springs Town Council decided to take a chance on Walmart being successful — among other indicators of potential economic growth — and changed its revenue projections for this year’s budget.

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This story was posted on October 15, 2015.

7 Responses to Sales tax collections up 14.6 percent in August

  1. MyOpinionIsMyOwn

    October 16, 2015 at 8:09 am

    Sorry, it’s been years since I’ve had a chance to make it down to Pagosa…do you all have a Walmart now? Or maybe someone can tell me why Walmart’s performance is important to Government budgeting.

  2. Louis Friend

    October 16, 2015 at 9:45 am

    Yes, Pagosa has a WalMart, and it is important to government budgeting because the Town of Pagosa’s budget is based almost entirely on sales-tax receipts. The county benefits from a rise in sales tax also, but not near as much as the town. So, when sales tax receipts go up, the town has more money coming in, and therefore more funding available for maintenance, new facilities, whatever. Funny thing is, some folks in Pagosa were predicting another great recession was approaching. Guess not, ha.

  3. ajpagosa

    October 16, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    Nobody was predicting another great recession, at least not that I’m aware of. Many of the best economists in the world predicted and continue to predict a recession in the next 2-5 years. Much of the world is in one now and US growth is just barely ticking over. Some economists think much of the US is in one now. Certainly states that rely on domestic oil production or whose major industrial base supported it are.

    What was truly appalling is some people were predicting we’d not have a recession here for 25+ years, and grow at a 5% or better rate forever. Using this as an excuse to con voters into taking on up to $45M in debt for a project that couldn’t even cover half its operating expenses. And then threatening to sue local newspapers for questioning their numbers. Thank goodness voters saw through this charade and voted it down, massively.

    I’m very glad we’re seeing an upturn in sales tax revenues, but it would be foolish to assume it will go on forever, or even another year. I also am glad to see the Town and County working together to use these extra revenues to fix much needed infrastructure. Without raising taxes I might add.

    Economic expansions and recessions are a basic fact of life, nobody can predict exactly when they happen. But they have and they will, over and over. They will hit small resort towns like ours harder as people pull back on luxuries and vacations first. Wise civic planners know this and don’t embark on programs which involve massive debt binges that REQUIRE continuous growth and no recession, ever, to stay solvent.

    Also the year-over-year comps are misleading because we’ve had several major retail centers open. Walmart, Tractor supply, and then new grocery store downtown (the town’s 2% is waived but not the county’s). One of the reasons Walmart located here was their own sales tax data from the Durango store showed $30M/year coming from Archuleta County customers. That’s up to $1.2M/yr @ 4% extra coming here now that wasn’t last year. Maybe more as we pull in people from the south and east. Let’s see if that holds up next year, or grows.

  4. Louis Friend

    October 16, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Wouldn’t worry about a rec center ever being approved by voters in Archuleta County, if that’s what you are referring to – that window has closed forever. The upturn will go on for at least another year, if for no other reason than the fact that Wally and the downtown grocery store will add a full year of sales tax receipts to the coffers next year. Both did not open until well into this year, so the average gain may be even higher next year – just in time to fund a new courthouse and jail (who wouldn’t vote in favor of a tax increase to make sure criminals and lousy commissioners are comfortably accommodated?).

  5. ajpagosa

    October 16, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    So how’s Estes Park working out for you?

  6. Louis Friend

    October 16, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    You mean Frisco

  7. ajpagosa

    October 17, 2015 at 3:54 am

    Okay…Frisco then :)

    Point is the year over year comps in this article refer to MONTHLY numbers. This August we saw the first month without back taxes skewing things. Last August there was no Walmart or downtown grocery. Let us see what next August brings.

    The other point is these types of increases are not organic, in that they do not reflect real growth since much of the sales are to people who already live or vacation here who were going to Durango or Farmington. At the very least responsible T&C finance people will not treat it as such. Those places will lose revenue and net for the region is zero.

    I think there is some moderate real growth going on, but nothing like these numbers might appear to imply. We are (finally) coming out of the worst recession most of us will see in our lifetimes (I hope) and frankly in real terms the recovery on a national and local level is not very robust. But maybe it is sustainable and I really hope for a while at least the boom-bust cycle here is over.

    We’ll see what happens when we can view true YOY comps for months that had all this new retail in it. Don’t get me wrong the extra revenue is great. But if anybody thinks we’ll grow at 14.6% again YOY next August they’re delusional. I’d be happy with 2-3%.