Sales tax points to economic growth
Tourism industry is a potential area for growth
The latest town sales tax reports show sales tax revenues ahead of last year, but the Mancos Valley Chamber of Commerce director sees plenty of opportunity for more local economic development.
By the end of June, the town had collected about $163,100 in revenue compared with about $135,000 for the same time last year, according to town documents.
"There's just been a general increase in the economic health in Colorado," Town Clerk Heather Alvarez said at the July 23 board meeting.
The town levies a 4 percent tax on every purchase and collected about $387,000 in sales taxes last year. The budget for total tax revenue was $705,213 this year. The difference is brought in through property taxes, cigarette tax, mineral and severance income, specific ownership taxes and franchise fees.
February was the best month, with consumer spending bringing in $32,348.35. Since Mancos doesn't collect its own sales tax, this revenue reflects a spike in spending that happened over the holidays, said Alvarez.
"The state collects sales tax on our behalf. Very often, the tax paid to the town is between one and three months behind. It is my belief that the February payment included sales tax from December and January," Alvarez said.
The bulk of sales tax falls in three categories, retail necessities, food and beverages, and utilities. So far retail necessities has made up 34 percent of sales tax revenue from January through June.
Taxes on the retail sales of art, gifts, and souvenirs so far have accounted for about 3 percent, or about $5,600 in income. Sales tax on motel rooms have also accounted for about 3 percent.
Chamber of Commerce director Marianne Griffin said tourism is a place where the town can grow economically because it has so much to offer.
"We are a four-season recreation center," she said.
Although summer is the busy season, there are plenty of opportunities for adventure tourism in the winter with cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at Mesa Verde and Chicken Creek, she said.
In addition, more than 50 percent of the visitors to the chamber's website are men under 45, which she sees as a good demographic to focus on drawing into town.
One of the people getting into the tourism business is real estate broker Pat Janz. She invested in the Enchanted Mesa Motel on Grand Avenue in Mancos in February with business partner Dennis Jones.
Janz saw it in part as an opportunity to cater to long-term and short term guests, and her clientele is evenly split between the two, she said.
As a real estate broker she said she receives four to five inquiries a week about rentals in the area. Her rooms are spacious enough to provide comfortable living arrangements for months at a time.
"So far it's doing quite nicely," she said.
She is also in the process of renovating the property. Improvements include new paint and hardwood floors.
The business also offers a home vacation rental for large groups coming to town to events like weddings, reunions or other large events.
Janz worked with Jama Collins on the house and finished renovations in June. It is now fully furnished down to the dishware and features a marble staircase and granite countertops in addition to plenty of bedrooms - six queen-size and one king.