The first half of 2022 shows an increase in sales tax revenue, but a slow summer for businesses in Summit County

Main Street Breckenridge is considered busy with shoppers, visitors and residents over Labor Day weekend 2021. Now that sales tax reports for the summer are out, cities have started to see the effects of inflation, short-term rentals and cost increases across the board.
Liz Copan/For the Daily News Summit

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with correct numbers for the town of Breckenridge.

Cities in Summit County have started to see the effects of inflation and short-term rentals on sales tax numbers for 2022.

Compared to the summer of 2021, Summit County’s rainy summer season has generally resulted in lower revenues, according to earlier reports. This was supported by data published by Destimetrics, a business intelligence arm of Inntopia that collects data on different vacation destinations. The study showed that customer accommodation was down in 17 western mountain towns.

While the number of accommodations is falling, the second part of this survey showed that costs have nevertheless increased. Inflation also increased over the summer, reaching 9.1% in Junethe highest so far for 2022.

With numbers through the end of July, all cities in Summit County and unincorporated areas of the county saw an increase in sales tax revenue beginning in 2021 in the first half of the year, although July’s monthly figures may indicate that changes may be on the horizon.

For sales tax collection, unincorporated Summit County has seen a 26.12% year-to-date increase, an increase of nearly $1.4 million in revenue. Frisco posted a year-to-date increase of 13.3%, an increase of $914,285. Breckenridge reported a year-to-date increase of 18.62%, or just under $6.25 million. Dillon saw a year-to-date increase of 13.81%, an increase of approximately $699,805, and Silverthorne saw its revenue increase by just over $1.08 million, an increase of approximately $699,805. increase of 12.54% since the beginning of the year.

Frisco chief financial officer Leslie Edwards said the first half of the year most likely came in the wake of 2021, and some sectors also likely collected more sales tax on fewer overall sales in reason for inflation.

“I think we’ve been relatively busy and we’ve had inflation-related increases as well,” Edwards said. “I think the grocery industry is a great example of that, where you can have a sales tax increase, even without an increase in volume, because prices go up.”

Edwards found a surprise among the sales tax numbers.

“It’s quite remarkable how short-term rentals continue to increase,” Edwards said. “We continue to see strong increases in this accommodation industry.”

Unincorporated Summit County also saw a large short-term rental tax increase.

“You can see how licensing these units and putting them into a licensing program has resulted in increased tax revenue,” Summit County Chief Financial Officer David Reynolds said. “We’ve seen tremendous growth in this category.”

Short-term lodging accounts for nearly half of the revenue generated by Summit County’s various sales tax categories.

The hotel and lodging tax, as well as the vacation rental and restaurant lodging tax, are doing better than the previous year for the town of Dillon. Dillon’s chief financial officer, Carri McDonnell, said this year’s increase came as a surprise to the city because of last year’s success for Summit businesses.

Although cities are reporting year-to-date revenue increases, July’s numbers were generally not as strong.

Frisco’s sales tax revenue saw a 10.5% increase in June from a year earlier, but only a 4.7% increase in July. Unincorporated Summit County saw July sales tax revenue drop 1.69% from 2021, compared to a 9.13% increase from June 2021 to this year.

Breckenridge’s sales tax receipts, which started strong, were lower than 2021 collections in May, June and July. Sales tax collections in May fell 0.04%, June fell 4.61% and July fell 7.09%.

Dillon’s July collection figures showed a 13% increase in sales tax revenue from July a year earlier, while June had a 16% increase.

Most cities shared that it was a good year for revenue, though McDonnell and Edwards said their cities would likely start to tighten budgets in light of weaker July numbers.

Edwards mentioned the looming possibility of a recession, but stressed that officials are currently working to ensure they stay on budget no matter how the year plays out.

“We just try to be very conservative,” she said.

McDonell shared a similar sentiment.

“We’re budgeting flat for the rest of the year,” McDonnell said. “So we don’t expect any sales tax increases for the rest of this year when we get to budgeting for 2023.”


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