Mixed bag expected in region for retail sales in 2022

Cities and counties in the Roaring Fork Valley have very different predictions for how their tourism-driven economies will fare in 2022.

The outlook ranges from bullish for Snowmass Village, Basalt, Carbondale and Aspen to bearish for Pitkin County and somewhere in between for Eagle County, Glenwood Springs and New Castle, according to a summary from the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority.

RFTA relies heavily on sales tax revenue, so it is collecting preliminary estimates in October for next year’s sales taxes from each of its eight member jurisdictions.

This graph shows retail sales tax revenue collected by the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority since 2012. Collections were stable between 2019 and 2020 but increased in 2021. RFTA expects a slight decline in 2022.
RFTA budget image

“The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and the uncertainty over the duration of its impacts are highlighted by the information received,” RFTA staff wrote in a budget summary for the Board of Directors. ‘administration. “As a result, the 2022 sales tax forecast is a 1% reduction from the 2021 forecast.”

Snowmass Village was the most optimistic. The city estimates that its sales tax revenue will increase by 6.01% in 2022 compared to 2021. Basalt and Carbondale expect a 5% increase while Aspen projects a 4.3% increase from 2021.

New Castle expects a 3% increase in sales tax revenues in 2022. Glenwood Springs and Eagle County are playing it safe and forecasting stable revenues.

Pitkin County was the only local government to anticipate a drop in sales in 2022. It forecasts a 4.2% drop.

Cumulative sales tax revenues have not declined due to the pandemic, but there has been no growth between 2019 and 2020. Sales tax collections are expected in 2021 for the region ends up about $ 5 million more than in 2020 to about $ 32 million. .

Sales and use taxes are the largest share of RFTA’s revenue at 48%. Property taxes provide about 19% of income. RFTA expects a good increase in property tax revenues in 2022 thanks to the rapid escalation in property values ​​in the region.

“Staff corresponded with assessors in Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties and obtained assessed assessments,” RFTA’s staff memo told the board. “As a result, the estimate of property tax revenue is increased by 8.5% compared to the 2021 budget.”

RFTA expects to raise around $ 11.89 million in property tax revenue.

The bus agency also expects to collect more from its service contracts. Aspen Skiing Co. pays for free shuttles for skiers in the upper valley. The city of Aspen is also a major service contract for free buses within the city. Revenue from service contracts is expected to be slightly below $ 14.5 million in 2022. This is a 15% increase from 2021.

RFTA’s board on Thursday approved a budget of $ 78 million. That’s a 47% drop from 2021 due to a drastic drop in capital improvement projects. The capital improvements budget will be $ 18.3 million, down 81%.

The operating budget is $ 53.6 million, up 11%. Debt service will be $ 6.1 million in 2022, up 10%.

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