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After Strong November, Park City Cautious Ahead of Core Holiday Sales Tax Reports

The deadline to submit an appeal over this year's property tax valuations is Thursday, 9/15/22 at 5 p.m.
The deadline to submit an appeal over this year's property tax valuations is Thursday, 9/15/22 at 5 p.m.

Park City reported over $1.1 million in sales tax revenue last November, surpassing the previous year’s mark by over $300,000.


After the abrupt shutdown of the ski season last March and uncertainty surrounding what this season would look like amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Park City got its first glimpse of economic numbers at the start of the core holiday season with the release of November sales tax numbers last week.


The news was good, even great, with the city hauling in over $1.1 million in sales tax revenue, compared to about $820,000 the previous November. The figure also nearly doubled the number projected in the fiscal year 2021 budget that took into account the impacts of the pandemic on the local economy.


Despite the strong start, City Manager Matt Dias said the real test will be if the strong numbers carry on through the end of the ski season in March, which are the core economic months Park City relies on each year. Last fiscal year, roughly $2 million was brought in in December, January, and February, respectively. 


“November exceeded everyone’s expectations and we had a very strong summer and fall,” Dias said. “While we’re optimistic, I just want to add a dose of caution in that the four biggest months for the municipality are December, January, February, and March. We don’t want to have sort of a false positive on our recovery or our ability to remain stable in the midst of a pandemic.”


Sales tax numbers are currently released by the state tax commission on a two month delay. December’s core holiday numbers won’t be released until next month.


Dias said despite the strong numbers, economic trends that indicate fewer long-distance and overnight visitors could mean a significant hit to the local lodging industry, especially with no in-person Sundance Film Festival this year.     


“We will be eagerly awaiting next month’s report, December will be a big tell for what the winter might look like,” he said. “We are worried about the lodging industry though, in particular. We think that’s one of the industries that may be the hardest hit as a result, but we’re optimistic that visitation has been strong and clearly Main Street has been a busy place and the sales taxes thus far have sustained us.” 


A link to the November sales tax update can be found here.

Sean Higgins covers all things Park City and is the Saturday Weekend Edition host at KPCW. Sean spent the first five years of his journalism career covering World Cup skiing for Ski Racing Media here in Utah and served as Senior Editor until January 2020. As Senior Editor, he managed the day-to-day news section of skiracing.com, as well as produced and hosted Ski Racing’s weekly podcast. During his tenure with Ski Racing Media, he was also a field reporter for NBC Sports, covering events in Europe.