Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sun Valley LOT musters increase in April

Tiny uptick boosts tax receipts

Express Staff Writer

The increase might have been small, but at least it was an increase.

Sun Valley reported a 7 percent increase in its local-option tax receipts for April, compared with the same month one year earlier. The receipts brought in $44,149 for the month, a $3,000 rise from last year.

Sun Valley Mayor Wayne Willich said in an interview that while the amount is insignificant in relation to the city's financial situation, it is still a reason for optimism as the resort town heads into its busiest tourism months.

Sun Valley imposes a 3 percent sales tax on lodging, by-the-glass liquor sales and tickets to events in the city. A 2 percent tax is imposed on most retail sales and a 1 percent tax on ski lift tickets and season passes.

The goal of the LOT is to offset the impacts of tourism on city services and infrastructure. LOT figures are one of the primary gauges of the success of the local economy.

Retail receipts led the way in April, increasing by 26 percent, or about $6,000, over April 2008. Lodging and liquor receipts were down 20 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

For the first seven months of the fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, Sun Valley has brought in a total of $568,609, 16 percent, or nearly $100,000, less than during the same period last year.

For the current annual budget, Sun Valley city officials projected LOT revenues to total $1.45 million, about $50,000 more than last year's.

The city still has its two busiest months ahead, with July and August bringing roughly $100,000 more each than any other month of the year.

Willich said he will be happy if this year's LOT revenue equals last year's.

"Flat is the new up," he said.

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