City sees bump in sales tax money

October numbers up 14 percent over 2011, 7 percent increase over the year

Keywords: Poll question,

By Michael Maresh

Journal Staff Writer

City sales tax revenues continue to do well in 2012, according to the latest figures released by the city of Cortez

And sales tax for the last few months have been much better than what was returned in 2011.

In October, the city sales tax numbers were $876,000, a 14.23 percent increase from October 2011.

The October increase bumps the figure for the first 10 months of 2012 to almost $6.9 million, a 7.23 percent increase from the first 10 months of 2011.

City of Cortez Finance Director Kathi Moss said one reason for the increase is the $45,000 sales tax return from an out-of-town vendor for some type of a construction project. She said this could have been the remodel of City Market or some other type of project.

“That’s an abnormality because it will only happen once,” Moss said.

Another reason for the increase is the result of one big-box store paying city sales tax every six months in one lump sum rather than monthly, which is fine with the city.

However, this is not an abnormality because the city will receive two of these larger payments every year.

If the two figures were subtracted from the year-to-date figures in city sales tax the percentage would have been 6.3 percent, though Moss stressed the tax from the big-box store should not be subtracted since city officials knew the return was coming.

October city sales tax for automobiles increased by almost $41,000 or 40 percent from the same month in 2011.

Restaurants’ sales tax figures also increased by 7.2 percent with big-box stores generating another $12,000 more than October 2011 for a 2.05 percent increase.

Sales tax for lumber/home repairs decreased by 3.85 percent while other retail also went down by 3.23 percent from what was received in October 2011.

Moss said while the city budgeted a 5 percent increase, the current percentage could change over the next two months.

Lodger’s sales tax figures also did a little better in October in the first 10 months of 2012 when compared to 2011 figures.

In October the city received $20,306 compared to the $18,774 received in October 2011.

Year-to-date lodger’s sales tax figures increased by 3 percent from the first 10 months of 2011.

Moss, who said Walmart is the city’s biggest tax generator, said any increase over the projected 5 percent would be placed into the city’s reserves.

Dena Guttridge, executive director of the Cortez Area Chamber of Commerce, had another explanation on why city sales tax may have increased in the city.

Every adult member of the Ute Mountain Ute tribe recently received $12,500 from the distribution of the $42.5 million in federal settlement money, and in turn a lot of that money was spent locally.

Guttridge said the sales tax figures for lodging shows the city is ending up on a high note, and has been told reservations are still being made for the future.

Guttridge said the mild weather could be another reason why tourists are coming to the city, which makes it a perfect location for mountain climbing, archaeological digs and other outdoor activities.

She added hunters are also returning to the area in droves, and they often buy supplies from local businesses.

michaelm@cortezjournal.com