Sales tax: Better than 2011

By Michael Maresh Journal staff writer

The city of Cortez sales tax for 2012 was better than 2011, up 4 percent with still one more month to go, according to figures released by the city.

In the first 11 months of 2012 retail sales increased by 7.2 percent going from $7.8 million to $8.4 million.

The increase was not totally unexpected as the Cortez City Council budgeted a 5 percent increase in sales tax in its 2012 budget.

Finance Director Kathi Moss said she expected the figures to hold since December - because of the holidays - is a busy shopping month.

Lodgers tax also increased for the first 11 months of 2012 going from $151,000 to $156,000 - a 4 percent increase from 2011.

Moss said a 4 percent increase is not a big one, and she thinks the increase is the result of Cortez being a pass-through destination with inexpensive motel rates when compared with Durango.

The month of November was an extremely good one for tax revenue with purchases increasing by 7.86 percent, going from close to $682,000 to more than $735,000 last month.

While the sale of automobiles got off to a slow start in 2012, the purchases picked up dramatically in the last two months.

In October sales tax from vehicle purchases increased by more than 49 percent with an extra $16,000 going into the city coffers.

In November the vehicle sales nearly doubled at a 97 percent increase. Figures released by the city show the numbers went from $36,600 in December 2011 to $64,700 last month.

Moss said the city receives these taxes once the consumer purchases their license plates, which they have 60 days to do so. Because of the time lag she suspects a lot of the vehicles were purchased by the tribal money that members received from the federal government in a lawsuit settlement.

Restaurants suffered a hit in November when compared to the same time in 2011 with a decrease of 8.5 percent.

Moss said while restaurant sales were down, fast food establishments saw an increase in business, leading her to believe that the Thanksgiving holiday was the reason why people out and about decided to get a quick bite to eat rather than take the time to eat at a restaurant.

Home repairs or lumber business dropped almost 13.5 percent.

The box stores of Walmart, City Market and Safeway saw a slight increase at 5.43 percent, which Moss attributed to shopping for the Christmas holiday and Black Friday.

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