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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of Aug 28 - Sept 3, 2002


Sales tax collections continue to slide

Express Staff Writer

Local sales tax collections in Sun Valley and Ketchum this year are continuing their downward trends.

Sun Valley year-to-date collections are down 12 percent. Ketchum, year-to-date numbers show a 3.5 percent decline.

The numbers are important, because they serve as an economic barometer for the cities’ resort economies.

"The local option tax (LOT) really gives an indication of the volume of spending, and is probably the biggest indication of how we’re doing with our tourism economy since the majority of those tax dollars are generated through tourism," said Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Carol Waller.

Because of a lag in collection and compilation, numbers are accurate through June, the most recent month tabulated. Compilation of July numbers is nearing completion.

Additionally, Sun Valley and Ketchum are not directly comparable. Sun Valley tallies its numbers using a fiscal year beginning in October, and Ketchum uses a fiscal year beginning in September. Sun Valley implements a 3 percent tax on rooms, sales and liquor. Ketchum imposes a 2 percent levy on liquor and rooms, and a 1 percent levy on general sales.

In Ketchum, the tax constitutes approximately a quarter of total revenues. In Sun Valley, the tax contributes nearly a third of total revenues.

In Ketchum, condominium receipts are taking the biggest hit so far this year. They are down $10,935 to $64,874, a 14 percent decline over last year. General retail, the biggest chunk of Ketchum’s collections, slipped $2,972 to $907,626, a .3 percent decline.

Conversely, Sun Valley took its biggest hit, a 21 percent decline, in retail sales, which slipped by $361,872 to $271,608. General sales in the month of January slipped an impressive 52 percent. Sun Valley’s lodging figures are down 5 percent, and liquor is down 3 percent, to $51,226.

Last September, following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the East Coast, the Chamber and Visitors Bureau set a goal of limiting losses to 10 percent.

"In light of that, the numbers are better than we anticipated," Waller said, qualifying that Sun Valley’s numbers have also been affected by the closure of several Elkhorn businesses and the imminent closure of the Elkhorn Hotel.



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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.