Winter Park sees increase in sales tax numbers | SkyHiNews.com
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Winter Park sees increase in sales tax numbers

by Stephanie Miller
Sky-Hi Daily News

If sales tax numbers are any indication, the economy in Winter Park is growing.

For August and September, numbers were up ” by as much as $41,000 in August thanks to the Veterans Motorcycle Rally. The only month where Winter Park did not see a spike was July, but those in the know aren’t worried.

July’s flat numbers aren’t necessarily bad news, said Winter Park/Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Catherine Ross.

“The year before we had Widespread Panic in July. So, staying the same, we’re very excited,” she told the Winter Park town council members last week. “July was such an uncertainty because of Widespread.”

The town of Fraser was up in July compared to last year, with a sales tax increase of 6.88 percent ” an increase of $10,700. The town collected roughly $156,700 in sales tax revenue.

Winter Park collected roughly $273,000 in July, down .06 percent compared to that time last year or a decrease of $173.

July was a good month for the retail industry in Winter Park, which saw an 18.85 percent increase in sales tax revenue and collected an additional $14,000 compared to that time last year. Restaurants, however, saw a decrease of 7.6 percent, with roughly $8,000 less in sales tax revenue compared to that time last year.

Lodging and accommodations also saw a decrease of 51.21 percent ” roughly $27,100 less than July last year. Services and utilities saw an increase of 104.45 percent, with an additional $22,500 in sales tax revenue.

Downtown Winter Park collected just shy of $140,000 in sales tax revenue in July, a $21,000 decrease compared to last year. For year-to-date revenues, however, downtown is up by $23,200, or 2.04 percent.

Old Town and the ski area collected about $50,500 in July, a decrease of $22,700 compared to last year.

August leaves Fraser pondering next summer’s events

Winter Park collected roughly $250,000 in sales tax revenue for the month of August.

The town was up 18.35 percent compared to that time last year, and saw an increase of $41,433 for that month.

Fraser didn’t fare so well in August, and instead saw a decrease of 18.28 percent ” about $23,000 less than that time last year. The town collected roughly $128,900.

Fraser’s board of trustees have been pondering ways to increase business during that month, which saw the Fraser Valley’s first Veterans Motorcycle Rally. Although Winter Park saw big numbers that weekend, Fraser didn’t have as much traffic.

Trustee Member Vesta Shapiro asked Ross at a recent town meeting what the town could do to expand events in Fraser.

“I’ve heard concern from business owners that they give money to the chamber, but most events happen in Winter Park,” Shapiro said. “We don’t see that impact in downtown Fraser.”

Ross was polite, but to the point.

“I need some help on what a downtown Fraser event looks like,” Ross said. “I would have to know how, and with what money.”

The town of Winter Park, Ross pointed out, contributed a substantial amount of dollars to have events downtown this summer. She encouraged the board to have a workshop with her and chamber members to discuss possible ideas and solutions for next year’s summer events.

“I would love to have a workshop and ask what would you like to see happen at the park, at the ponds. I would love to look at something bigger and better down there,” she said.

As for Winter Park, downtown saw an increase of 25.31 percent for August compared to that time last year, with an additional $30,300 in sales tax revenue. Old Town and the ski area, however, saw a decrease of 18.08 percent. It collected roughly $11,000 less in sales tax revenue compared to August 2006.

Retail in Winter Park was up 28.93 percent in August, an $84,400 increase compared to that time last year. Restaurants saw a 15.18 percent increase, which amounted to an additional $12,200. Lodging and accommodations were down 5.85 percent, with a decrease of $477 in sales tax revenue. Services and utilities were up 28.76 percent, with an additional $9,600 in sales tax revenue.

September was steady for Winter Park; Fraser saw increase

Winter Park saw a 5.04 percent increase for September compared to that time last year, an increase by roughly $11,400. The town collected about $238,000.

Fraser saw an increase that month of 35 percent, collecting an additional $69,000 in sales tax revenue compared to September 2006. The town collected just shy of $200,000.

Retail in Winter Park was up 34.83 percent compared to September 2006, and collected an additional $23,500 in sales tax revenue. Restaurants saw a 3.28 percent decrease, which amounted to roughly $2,300 less than that time last year. Services and utilities were also down by 26.77 percent, which amounted to $15,800 less than that time last year. Lodging and accommodations, however, were up 30.59 percent, an increase of $7,750.

Overall, sales tax collections for downtown Winter Park was down 3.92 percent compared to September 2006, a decrease of about $4,000. Old town and the ski area were up 13.76 percent, an increase of about $4,600.

For year-to-date collections up to the month of September, Winter Park continues collect more than the previous year, according to a financial report by the town. It is up $6.25 percent, reporting gains of $203,000.

To reach Stephanie Miller, call (970) 887-3334, ext. 19601 or e-mail smiller@grandcountynews.com.


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