Expecting record-breaking sales tax collections to level out
[ By Kendra Walker ]
The Mt. Crested Butte town council and town staff are preparing the town’s 2023 budget and anticipate healthy finances headed into the new year.
The council held a public hearing on November 15 to review the 2023 budget ordinance and received no public comment. The council unanimously voted to approve the first reading of the 2023 budget ordinance and will review the second reading for consideration and approval on December 20.
“The 2023 budget has been put together with a view of optimism that the town has bounced back from the COVID led recession in 2020 and will level off in 2023,” said Mt. Crested Butte finance director Karl Trujillo in a letter to the council. “The past year we have seen stimulated real estate sales, new construction and record-breaking sales tax collections and we are expecting them to level out some in the coming year.”
The total budget for all funds is $9,663,883. The estimated revenues for the general fund are $5,591,463 and expenditures are estimated at $4,629,597. The capital projects fund is expected to spend $1,207,000 in 2023. The town is projecting cash reserves in the general fund to be $2,850,700 at the end of 2023.
“In 2022 we saw a large increase in overall sales tax collections and experienced a record year in building revenues,” said Trujillo. “General fund 2022 sales tax collections are projected to be up 37% over 2021 and building revenues are about $1,000,000 above the 2022 budget. We are budgeting city sales tax to be $3,089,000 in 2023 which is flat with 2022 projected sales tax revenues.” Trujillo noted that the 2021 assessed values increased by 19% which means 2022 and 2023 property tax collections will remain around $540,000 for the general fund and $589,000 for the capital fund.
The town’s transportation fund will pay the Mountain Express $734,000, and an additional $515,000 through the admissions tax fund. The admissions tax fund has a balance of $1,819,039 and is expected to bring in $1,473,000 in revenues, which is then used for funding the town’s admissions tax grants and transportation.
According to Trujillo, the town plans to spend about $650,000 on different road projects in 2023, including recreation path repairs and paving on Hunter Hill, Cinnamon Mountain Road, Aspen Drive and Ruby Drive. “We are also getting engineering estimates for a tunnel for the recreation path to go under Gothic Road at the beginning of town,” he shared.
The housing fund currently has a fund balance of $1,342,609 and is expected to accumulate $1,291,100 in revenues in 2023. The town has budgeted $1,212,000 out of the housing fund for future projects.
Additionally, the town will contribute $500,000 on new signage and wayfinding throughout the town, based on updated logo and branding to the town worked on earlier this year. The town will also provide a development contribution of $92,500 through the DDA for a remodel project of the Elevation Hotel, which includes a revamp of the outdoor patio to include a performance stage and an upgraded lounge with a coffee bar.
The town’s full-time employee count remains at 28, and the total increase to the payroll is 6.2%.
Trujillo concluded that all the town’s funds are in good financial health and the town is being conservative with sales tax projections and building revenues for 2023.
The council will review the second reading of the Mt. Crested Butte 2023 budget ordinance for final approval on December 20.