Big business initiative: the growth in public revenues is astounding
Wow. Business and public sector affairs are booming in the Grand County.
And I don’t write this like I’m a chamber of commerce, some kind of growth booster. I’m just pointing it out, really. Read on.
My quick glance at the Grand County sales and property tax figures, and related increases, over the past two years has created a startling experience for me. And as they say in some sectors, like the public sector, so goes the private sector.
Public sector revenues continue to grow and grow, which may not be new to some, but it is worth seeing some of the Grand County government numbers contained in the most recent summary. (unaudited).
Let’s start with the Grand County sales tax revenue from its 1% tax on all retail sales in the county. In 2018, the county’s total retail sales were $ 557 million. In 2019, that number was $ 613 million. For 2020, there were $ 819 million in total retail sales in the county, and that was the year of the first COVID peak.
Thus, in two years, sales nationwide have increased by about 45%. This means that the county’s revenue from sales taxes increased from $ 5.5 million in 2018 to $ 8.1 million in 2020. Again, on the Conservative side, this is an increase in 45% sales tax revenue in two years.
I want to shout it out and put exclamation marks after it, but hey, the numbers speak for themselves. It’s incredible sales growth.
These types of numbers are echoed by many people in the private sector here in the county who are responsible for collecting this 1% sales tax.
Property tax assessments in the county tell a similar story, although it is not as drastic due to nuances of property valuation such as lag in assessments and other factors. Nonetheless, consider this: the county’s 2018 appraised valuation was $ 663 million. That number has risen to $ 809 million by 2021. It is said to reach a billion by next year.
No one, five years ago, would have predicted such a thing.
With all construction underway due to the post-fire recovery and normal new construction activity, the total valuation of all new construction (new homes, renovations, etc.) for single family homes is expected to triple this year. compared to last year. Triple.
So, this is what I call “booming”.
And yet we are paying the price, so to speak.
Since I mentioned the county numbers here, let’s consider this. The County Roads and Bridges Department alone lost 17 employees. Now you might know why that pothole in your road hasn’t been fixed recently. Overall, the county is down by about 40 employees.
Again, I want to put an exclamation mark behind that last sentence, but I abstained.
These kinds of figures on public sector employee shortages also resonate in other counties. Summit County also lost about 40 employees in county government jobs. This is also happening in other mountain counties.
Just like the public sector, well, so too is the private sector. We all know and have complained about employee shortages, more clogged roads than usual, and empty shelves in our supermarkets. Business, tourism and construction are booming, but we’re really struggling to keep up.
Is it just a bubble that’s going to burst in a year or two? I doubt. I think we still have several more years of this kind of activity because COVID, combined with the natural tendencies of the population, has stirred a sleeping giant.
Grand County is only a couple of hours from the booming Front Range and now these city dwellers and suburbanites really know it.
Hold on to your horses! (Well, that exclamation mark.)
Patrick Brower is the Business Facilitator for the Grande Enterprise Initiative. It offers free and confidential business management coaching to anyone wishing to start or develop a business in the Grand County. He can be reached by calling 970-531-0632 or at [email protected].