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December Sales Tax Numbers Outperformed Budget Projections but Were Still Down From 2019 Figures

Sean Higgins

Official sales tax numbers for December were released by the Utah State Tax Commission. In Park City, sales tax revenue was down 9% from December 2019.


December’s sales tax report was not quite as exciting as November’s, where Park City outperformed non-pandemic years by over $300,000, but was still better than staff at city hall was expecting.


Last December raked in $1.7 million to Park City’s general fund, down about $162,000 from December 2019. Park City’s adopted budget for fiscal year 2021 was anticipating roughly $950,000 in sales tax revenue in December.


Park City Budget Operations Manager Jed Briggs told the city council that although the city did not match the previous year’s December, outperforming the budget projections by over $750,000 is an encouraging sign heading into the rest of the ski season, which are also park City’s core economic months.


“The good news here is that even though December is down, that it is tracking higher than what we had initially thought when we were adopting the budget,” Briggs said. “We still have a lot of months to get through in the ski season … January with no Sundance, obviously a little bit of concern there, but, again, tracking pretty good so far.”


Park City won’t know the full economic impact of no in-person Sundance Film Festival until sometime in March when January’s sales tax report is released by the state tax commission.


Creighton Bingley owns the Backskratcher Tees store on Main Street and said his January was slow, along with the rest of ski season so far, but is thankful for the business he has gotten. He said because of the pandemic, he actually expected to not have any customers at all this winter.


“Obviously, I’m not doing what I’d normally do, but I’m not unhappy with what I’m doing because I didn’t expect to do anything,” said Bingley. “COVID is what it is, there’s nothing I can do, I can’t control it, so I don’t worry about it, I don’t think about it. The season is what it’s gonna be and I’m fine.”


Another economic barometer for Park CIty is the Transient Room Tax, which is collected on lodging stays of less than 30 consecutive days. Briggs told the city council that number is down roughly 18% for the year.

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.