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January 4, 2013
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Grand Lake tops resort town tax list

GRAND LAKE - A sales tax report from the Colorado Association of Ski Towns shows Grand Lake as having the greatest percentage increase in collections since 2009 among 24 Colorado resort towns.

Released on Dec. 20, the report seeks to compare towns and their sales-tax collections over a three-year period, even with the challenge of varying months the towns represented their latest sales-tax collections.

Grand Lake, which reported collections through September 2012, showed sales taxes up by 18.8 percent since 2009.

The next highest degree of percentage increase came from Aspen, which reported collections through October of 2012, showing sales taxes up by 18.4 percent.

Next among towns with the highest improvement in collections was Vail, followed by Snowmass, Estes Park and Crested Butte.

By contrast, Summit County showed the largest percentage decrease in sales-tax collections since 2009, at -8.1 percent, but showed collections only through August 2012.

Showing collections through October, Mount Crested Butte showed a decrease as well as the town of Fraser.

Winter Park, showed only a slight increase since 2009 of 1.1 percent.

"It is very encouraging to see Grand Lake's sales tax numbers increasing year-over-year for the past few years," said Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lisa Jenkins. "Our summer economy is strong. Grand Lake's marketing budget is considerably less than most of the CAST town budgets, yet we appear to be holding our own share of tourism dollars coming into the mountain communities."

A Town of Grand Lake sales tax report that separates collections by business types shows lodging to have had the largest jump in sales taxes to the town over fixed retail or food and drink establishments since 2009, specifically from July through September.

The Grand Lake Lodge, which reopened under new ownership in the spring of 2011 after being closed for a few years, may be a key factor in this category over the four-year period.

Grand Lake Lodge has been known in the past to supply as much as 12 percent of sales taxes to the town in a given year, but confirmation of what the Lodge itself is contributing cannot be obtained on an official level, according to statutory law.

Lodging was down in 2012 when viewing January through March, months the Grand Lake Lodge is closed, an indicator that downtown lodging businesses have been affected by snow conditions in recent years.

Fixed retail saw a dip in 2010, but has been recovering since. The recovery could mean more shoppers are visiting the town, or other speculation is it may be a reflection of increased grocery prices, with two grocery stores located within town limits.

Restaurants and bars in Grand Lake have been seeing a steady increase in business overall since 2009 in the summer months, but are working to improve sales January through June, with 2012 numbers not yet meeting the standard set pre-2009.

One month showing 2012 improvement in terms of dollars circulating in town is the shoulder month of September. This can be attributed to an 11.3 percent increase in visitation to Rocky Mountain National Park, a successful Constitution event with fireworks held for the first time in town, and the month's warm weather this past year.


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The Sky-Hi News Updated Jan 4, 2013 04:14PM Published Jan 4, 2013 04:12PM Copyright 2013 The Sky-Hi News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.