An October shock: Actual property, gross sales tax collections rosier than anticipated for the month in Snowmass | Information

October was a good month for Snowmass Village, as monies generated by real estate and general sales tax collections poured into the town coffers.

According to a report released Tuesday by the finance department, the town’s real estate transfer tax, which is 1% of property sales, generated more than $1.3 million during October. That’s 275% above the same month in 2019. The year-over-year difference was $969,034, according to the report.

The Snowmass Village RETT collections between January and October of $4.228 million have already surpassed all of 2019’s collections for the entire year by more than $1.28 million.

Yet the RETT collections rank just fourth overall in the history of Snowmass Village, according to Travis Elliott, assistant town manager. Remaining ahead of 2020’s RETT collections are those of 2005, ’06 and ’07, Elliott said. He added that, “I was surprised to go back and look,” and see that those years of the mid-aughts posted higher RETT collections.

But that could change if 2020 continues its torrid pace of real estate sales.

“Depending on November and December, RETT could be the highest but right now it’s not,” Elliott said Wednesday.

While properties were being scooped up this year, expansions of existing units were less popular in 2020 than 2019.

According to the finance department’s report, for the year-to-date, excise tax collections are down by about 10%. Those funds are earmarked for capital expenditures of employee housing but don’t go toward operating expenses.

October was good for the excise tax, though, bringing in a haul of $69,484.34. That’s over $38,000 more than Oct. 2019. September 2020 was also promising for the excise tax, which generates funds based on improvements beyond the allowable maximum of floor area for free market properties in certain parts of the village. Voter-approved, Snowmass Village’s excise tax has been in effect since March 2000.

Challenging times for lodges

Sales tax collections during October that feed the town’s general fund were also stronger than expected. Some $88,993.27 was collected that month, which was $15,747.89, or 21.5% higher than October 2019.

The month of October helped the overall sales tax picture rebound a bit for the year, which is now about 12% below 2019, according to the finance department’s figures. When compared to the revised budget that was crafted in April, the town is only 4% down in collections.

October was the second straight month of improvement over the same period in 2019; in September, sales tax collections were up by 5.69% year over year.

To date, $1.717,785.62 has been generated for the general fund, which is $253,954.82 less than this same period in 2019.

Elliott referred to the year-over-year October sales tax differential as “a small chunk of change overall,” but that the improvement could nonetheless be seen as something of a shot in the arm.

Breaking down the categories for sales tax collections, during October, the sectors of utilities/telecommunications, food/drug/liquor and sports equipment/clothing performed best when comparing 2019 to 2020.

While remaining close to even with last year for the month of October, the town’s lodging tax collections for the year are down 18.55%, according to the finance department. Through the October reporting period, the lodging tax had generated $1,567,444.21 for 2020.

The March shutdown of the ski areas put a hurt on the lodging tax collections from which the town has found it hard to recover. When comparing 2019 to 2020, every month except January and February are below last year’s lodging tax collections.