City sales tax inches up over year 2002

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As declining sales tax forced many Colorado cities to tighten belts over 2002, Craig's revenue inched up for the second straight year, according to year-end city figures distributed by the Colorado Department of Revenue.

The city collected $2,349,074 in sales tax over 2002 -- an increase of about 1 percent from 2001 and slightly more than city planners had budgeted for the year.

Craig collected $2,073,593 in revenues from 2000.

Sales tax dollars account for about half of the nearly $6.5 million in total revenues the city has budgeted to collect this year -- money critical to sustaining services or capital construction projects.

"Given the picture not only at the state level, we're fortunate to be breaking even from what I hear from other communities," said Jim Ferree, Craig city manager.

And while nobody's quite sure how or why Craig's revenues remain steady through a sluggish economy, Ferree suggested many top sales tax generating businesses -- basic goods and service providers -- are proving "recession-proof."

Key businesses benefit from the area's remote location and a customer base willing to make the trip to Craig, he said.

"These are goods and services people are always going to need," Ferree said.

Bruce Nelson, Craig's finance director, declined to name the city's top sales tax generators, citing state confidentiality laws.

"It's obvious when you look at where people are spending their money in town at the grocery stores or Kmart," Nelson said.

Paul Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 or at pshockley@craigdailypress.com.

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