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2021 sales tax revenue, shown in red, is off to a roaring start in Buena Vista. The top of the February 2020 graph shows a $116,000 correction submitted by the state for an account that had not been remitted for three years. The actual number is $212,808. Image courtesy Town of Buena Vista.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Buena Vista has been posting some eye-opening gains in sales-tax revenue over the past year.

Like so many high country destinations, the town saw tourism come back in a fast and furious way after last spring’s lockdown.

Buena Vista continues to see gains in remote sales tax numbers that are collected when residents purchase goods elsewhere. But the most recent report had the Town’s treasurer, Michelle Stoke, seriously rechecking the numbers.

In a presentation to the Town’s trustees last week, she cited a nearly 44 percent hike in sales tax revenue for January and February of this year over the same period for 2020. The $616,651 in revenues between the two months is $126,116 higher than what the Town had budgeted for 2021.

Stoke attributed a significant share of the gains to the construction of the 110,000-square-foot Fading West modular home manufacturing facility. She also noted that the addition of the LaGree’s grocery store in the past year, as well as shoulder seasons “that are not as soft anymore” are playing into the equation.

“Hang on, because the summertime is going to be crazy,” she told the board.

The trustees found no problems with the additional revenue coming into town and had some light discussion about how it might be used.

“Is it worthwhile to earmark part of the surplus for facilities?” Trustee Amy Eckstein asked, pointing to a projected $4 million cost for a new police station as an example.

Stoke said the town will be bringing forth plans to finance the new police station as well as find buyers for town buildings getting replaced. “And we will also be starting to collect marijuana tax, and that’s budgeted at $125,000.”

Mayor Duff Lacy quipped to Stoke that if she could produce a repeat on the sales tax figures, “you could get a raise, maybe.”