Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ketchum LOT shows signs of life

Retail makes gains, building materials finally post double-digit increase


By REBECCA MEANY
Express Staff Writer

Ketchum retailers may still be struggling, but the city's local-option taxes indicate they are having a slightly easier time of it than last year.

Ketchum's total LOT receipts for September, representing sales activity in August, are up 13.5 percent over the same time last year.

Ketchum imposes a 2 percent sales tax on lodging and by-the-glass liquor sales, and a 1 percent tax on retail sales and building materials.

Retail receipts posted a 14.3 percent increase over the same month last year, for a $21,746 gain. So far this fiscal year, that category is up 19 percent.

Building materials receipts also made a strong showing, up nearly 17 percent, or $2,801, over last September's figures. That's the highest gain that category has seen since last fall. Overall, building materials still are down 5.5 percent in fiscal-year totals.

Condominium receipts logged a 23 percent increase, or $1,153. That category is up nearly 15 percent compared with the same point last fiscal year.

Hotel room receipts, however, do not reflect the return of the visitor. LOT receipts collected in August were down 3.6 percent over last August, about the same amount the category is down so far this fiscal year.

Liquor receipts posted a slight but disappointing decline of .05 percent, or $12. The category is showing an 8 percent increase so far this fiscal year.

"With retail up over 14 percent in the September report (on August activity) and room receipts down nearly 4 percent, it appears the local economy, overall, is still struggling," said City Administrator Gary Marks. "Nevertheless, overall tax collections were up over 13 percent in the September report, and that is good news."

In the second-to-last month of the fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, LOT figures are up 13 percent in year-to-date totals. There will be one more month of LOT reporting before the fiscal year totals can be ascertained.

Voters will decide Nov. 8 whether to renew the local-option tax. The ordinance that established it expires at the end of 2012.

Rebecca Meany: rmeany@mtexpress.com




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