A hot housing market helped retailers record another solid month in May despite a flat month from the tourism industry, according to the latest Colorado Springs sales tax numbers.
City sales tax collections in June, which measure activity in May, rose 5.6 percent from June 2015 to $12.1 million, according to a report from the city's Finance Department. The June increase was the largest since February and extends the string of consecutive monthly gains to nine. Collections so far this year are up 4.3 percent from the same period a year ago to $55.3 million. That doesn't include special sales for public safety, trails, open space and parks that generated another $14.7 million during the same period.
Nearly 40 percent of the overall gain was generated by collections on building materials, which jumped 18.9 percent from a year earlier to $1.39 million. Meanwhile, collections of the city's tax on rental cars and hotel rooms was flat at $491,538, mostly as a result of the Air Force Academy's graduation happening in June instead of late May last year.
"This obviously shows that times are good and consumer confidence is high with both large- and small-ticket items selling well," said Tatiana Bailey, director of the UCCS Economic Forum. "We are in step with and perhaps doing a little better than the rest of the nation."
A new 0.62 percent sales tax, approved by voters in November to fix local roads, generated $3.91 million in June and $17.9 million in the first five months of collections. If collections continue at the rate of the first five months, the city should collect $47.1 million, based on the city's analysis that it has collected an average of 37.9 percent of its annual sales tax revenue in those five months from 2012 to 2015.
City officials have said they expect to collect an average of $50 million a year from the road tax with a lower total in the first year and increasing each succeeding year for a total of $250 million during the five-year term of the special tax. The money will be used to fix the worst major roads used by the most drivers.
Other information in the report:
- June revenue from the city's use tax, collected on equipment and machinery purchased outside the city, fell 11.1 percent from June 2015 to $539,057, the lowest monthly total since May 2014 and the third decline in the past five months. Helped by big increases in March and April, the total so far this year is up 7.5 percent from the same period last year to $3.28 million.
- Combined sales and use tax collections in June increased 4.8 percent from June 2015 to $12.6 million and so far this year is up 4.5 percent from the same period last year to $58.6 million.
- The city sales tax generates more than half of the city's revenue for spending on public safety, roads, parks and other government services.
Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234