Sales tax revenues down in April


The shoulder season in Pagosa Springs, that time of year between when the ski area closes and the warm weather arrives, officially ended this week on the backs of about 2,000 bicycle riders as the Ride the Rockies tour blew through town. And, while locals can look forward once again to long lines at the grocery store or a bit of a wait at their favorite restaurant, the upside for businesses is that April is over.

“April Sales Tax revenue received in June 2013 totals $403,711.52,” LeeAnn Foutz from the Archuleta County Finance Department reported. “This is a decrease of $23,282.90 or 5.45 percent over April 2012.”

April was the first month in 2013 to show a drop in sales tax revenue compared to 2012.

The data is further complicated by the fact that many local business owners use the mud season to take their vacation time. In addition, Archuleta School District 50 Jt. gave its students and staff the first week of April off for spring break, the week after Wolf Creek Ski Area officially closed for the season.

Retail trade, which accounts for 46 percent of Archuleta County’s economy, collected $184,277 worth of sales tax revenue in April 2013, a decline of $5,245 or 2.8 percent compared to the same period last year.

Accommodation and food services, the second largest sector of the local economy, brought in $64,176 for April, a drop of $3,665 or 5.4 percent.

On the other hand, the third tourist related industry — arts, entertainment and recreation — saw a significant increase, bringing in $1,024 in April compared to only $386 last year, an increase of 165 percent.

The Town Tourism Committee continues to debate the impact of events like the Chamber of Commerce’s Car Show or FolkWest’s Pagosa Folk ’N Bluegrass Festival on Pagosa’s tourism-based economy, and how best to support those special events. In the meantime, other sectors of the economy were also affected by the downturn in business during the off season.

Construction companies experienced a dramatic drop, collecting only $7,837 in April, which is $6,915 or 46.9 percent less than last year, and real estate sales brought in $7,866 worth of tax revenue, a drop of $1,608 or 17.0 percent compared to 2012.

The utilities industry, however, generated $54,065 worth of sales tax, a gain of $5,519 or 11.4 percent. This increase was most likely due to colder temperatures and late spring snowstorms rather than any increase in the housing market.

The manufacturing sector dropped sharply, collecting only $20,754 this year, which is $5,897 less than last year, a decline of 22.1 percent. The information industry brought in $24,777 worth of tax revenue, a drop of $3,966 or 13.8 percent compared to 2012. On the other hand, wholesale trade remained almost flat, generating $20,094 worth of sales tax, compared to $20,195 for last year.

According to Colo. Rep. Mike McLachlan, it was concern over these key industries that prompted him to sponsor House Bill 13-1193, establishing the Advanced Industries Export Acceleration Program.

“Advanced industries are a prime driver of Colorado’s economy,” McLachlan explained, “accounting for thirty percent of the state’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and hundreds of thousands of primary and ancillary jobs. HB1193, which I co-authored, will help southwest Colorado’s growing high-tech companies export their products by providing small grants and training and consultation services. That bill, and accompanying legislation, will foster innovation and lend critical support to the most promising companies of today so they can create more good-paying jobs in our local communities.”

Of all the remaining industry sectors in Archuleta County, waste management and remediation services were the only other businesses to show a slight gain in April. Finance and insurance, professional, scientific and technical services, educational services, health care and social assistance, and other services (except public administration) all fell slightly.