Park City sales-tax receipts beat downwardly revised projections
Sales-tax receipts in Park City in March, April and May beat downwardly revised projections, numbers released by City Hall show, evidence that a key indicator of the overall economy and a crucial revenue stream for the municipal government did not free fall as some feared would happen with the spread of the novel coronavirus through the spring.
City Hall staffers compiled the numbers in anticipation of a Park City Council meeting that was scheduled on Tuesday. The numbers in each of the three months topped projections. The projections, though, had been downgraded amid the economic convulsions and the coronavirus-forced mid-March early end to the ski season. There was a broad shutdown of commerce in the spring in Park City and surrounding Summit County as health officials combated the spread of the illness.
According to the City Hall numbers, the sales taxes that were collected beat the projection by $366,376 in March. The April figure topped the projection by $250,960 while the May number beat the projection by $314,375. The June number was not available early in the week.
The numbers, though, continue to leave a significant shortfall in sales-tax revenues in City Hall’s 2020 fiscal year, which ended on June 30, compared to the previous fiscal year. The projected shortfall in sales-tax revenues in the fiscal year of 2020 stands at a little less than $2.9 million compared to the original projection of approximately $3.7 million based on the downturn caused by the spread of the sickness.
The figures could be encouraging to City Hall officials and many others who were worried business in the spring would be even more terrible than it was. The economy effectively appeared to crater with the early closures of Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort. Numerous other businesses in Park City closed at about the same time, as tourism sank and residents largely stayed home.
April and May are traditionally the two weakest months for sales taxes as tourism drops sharply with the end of the ski season. Although the numbers in those two months beat the projections, the figures represent just a tiny portion of the annual total. The June number will be more telling since it will capture the first weeks of the summer-tourism season.
It has appeared to be a difficult summer for many businesses with a series of high-profile special event cancellations, including the weekly Park Silly Sunday Market, the Tour of Utah bicycling race, the Park City Kimball Arts Festival and the Independence Day celebrations. A series of cultural and sporting events were also canceled. The special events usually lift the summer numbers as large crowds arrive in Park City for day trips or overnight stays. Some businesses, though, have seemed to have posted solid sales this summer, likely lifted by the pedestrian days on Main Street and Park City’s proximity to the Wasatch Front.
Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council are monitoring the sales-tax numbers closely and eventually expect to return to talks regarding the 2021 fiscal year budget with the possibility of some sort of adjustments toward the middle of the fiscal year.
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As Deer Valley starts talks with the Park City Planning Commission about a large development proposal at Snow Park, called Snow Park Village, the resort has identified the possibility a gondola as a traffic-fighting measure.