Sales tax revenue up in 2003

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Sales tax revenue was up for both Moffat County and Craig in 2003.

Moffat County's 2 percent sales tax collected $1,756,777 in revenue. Craig's slightly higher sales tax of 2.25 percent garnered the city $2,475,364.

That was an increase of about $13,000 for the city over 2002 revenues and of about $65,000 for the county.

It's difficult to explain why either government's sales tax revenues increased, said Bruce Nelson, Craig finance director.

"There are a lot of factors that go into sales tax. It's tough to know why exactly sales tax changes," Nelson said.

He said increased hunting, additional city events, or the new workers at Craig Power Station could possibly account for the boost. When those workers leave at the end of 2004, the numbers could come back down, or an improving economy might level things out, Nelson said.

Sales tax is a relatively small part of Moffat County's budget. Composed of sales tax, cigarette tax, severance tax, lodging tax, airport excise tax and 911 tax, sales tax only accounted for about 5 percent of the county's revenue in 2003. Moffat County receives 37.5 percent of sales tax collected in Craig and Dinosaur.

Of all the county's taxes, property tax generates the most money, accounting for 17 percent of the county's budget. Service charges and fees produce the most money for the county, accounting for 49 percent of the budget.

Sales tax is the biggest revenue source for Craig, garnering the city about $1.5 million more than the next highest source, general property tax.

Craig has projected a modest 2.23 percent increase in sales tax in 2004, estimating $2,378,500 in revenue. Moffat County projected an increase of 2 percent, anticipating $1,971,346 in sales tax revenue.

Usually, the county increases sales tax projections 3 percent more than the past year's receipts, so the county will likely see more revenue than that, said Tinneal Gerber, Moffat County financial administrator.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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