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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Friday, June 4, 2004


Local economy holds steady

LOT revenues solid in Ketchum, Sun Valley

Express Staff Writer

The tourist-based economy of Ketchum and Sun Valley continued to show signs of renewed strength in April.

Local option tax revenues, the primary indicator of spending activity in the two resort cities, during April held steady in Ketchum and surged 3 percent in Sun Valley.

Ketchum brought in just over $95,000 in LOT revenues during the month, equaling the amount collected in April 2003.

LOT revenues in Ketchum for the first seven months of the 2003-2004 fiscal year are up approximately 8 percent over the same period in the 2002-2003 fiscal year. In the current fiscal year, the city has collected approximately $33,000 more than it anticipated in its annual budget.

Tax revenues from retail sales, liquor sales, hotel-room rentals and condominium rentals all made gains in April, compared to the same month the previous year. However, sales of building materials in the city were down sharply, by more than 31 percent.

In Sun Valley, the city in April collected just over $40,000 from LOTs, up 3 percent compared to April 2003.

Sun Valley has collected more than $532,000 in LOT revenues since the start of the 2003-2004 fiscal year last October. The figure represents an approximately 7 percent jump from revenues during the same period in the 2002-2003 fiscal year.

LOTs are assessed under a state law that allows specific cities with tourist-based economies to seek to offset the costs of hosting large numbers of visitors. LOT revenues account for approximately one-third of the Sun Valley general-fund budget and one-fourth of Ketchum’s administrative budget.

The substantial increases in LOT revenues this fiscal year indicate that the local tourist economy is maintaining a steady recovery from a sharp downturn in business in 2002 and early 2003.

Both Ketchum and Sun Valley experienced substantial decreases in LOT revenues after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks disrupted travel throughout the country. LOT revenues and visitor numbers continued to fall short of expectations beyond the onset of the Iraq War in March 2003.

Jack Sibbach, director of sales and marketing for Sun Valley Resort—the region’s largest attraction and employer—said last week that advance bookings at the resort for summer are ahead of last year.

"Summer looks pretty good," he said.


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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.