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Gold bars show year over year increases in Salida City Sales tax collections for every month in 2020 to date. Courtesy City of Salida

Go figure; perhaps its people choosing to recreate closer to home, or some other unknown factors. But even with the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Salida once again saw a significant 8.1 percent increase in city sales tax collection in July. The city collects a 3 percent sales tax in July on all purchases within the city, which shows a health increase over the same period in 2019.

Retail Trade makes up the majority of Salida sales tax and this sector was up 15.1 percent.  The second-largest sector in terms of sales tax income is normally Accommodations and Food Services. This sector has seen a continued decline during the pandemic and for July, these taxes were down 9.8 percent.

Even with this offset, the Accommodations and Food Services tax category appear to be strengthening (as evidenced by the foot traffic on F Street). The overall picture for July was positive, even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Amicas Pizza expanded table seating onto F Street with new awnings and planters. Merrell Bergin photo

City Treasurer Merrell Bergin told Ark Valley Voice “The summer and early fall months are some of the strongest. Percentages are nice but the ‘base’ matters also and the result was a $59,000 increase for July. We hope that the pattern we’ve seen so far continues through the rest of the year.”

Salida brick and mortar shops and restaurants, downtown and on U.S. 50 have long been the bulwark of Salida sales.  In the last year, sales taxes are also collected and remitted online for purchases made outside Salida but shipped to local addresses.  These “remote sales” now add to the retail picture.

“Remote sales remain a small but growing piece of the puzzle, led by people shopping online to augment their local purchases during the pandemic. We’re watching to see if these trends continue” Bergin added.