Garden City sees record sales tax revenues, less from hotels

GARDEN CITY, Kansas– “Business has been amazing.  I’ve had a lot of local and out of town business, everyone’s so welcoming,” said Rebecca Hands.  She opened Blue Fox Boutique a month ago and its new, successful businesses like hers that are helping to build more sales tax revenue in Garden City.

“We’re in our record collections of city sales tax in history.  Last year was our highest year and I think 2015 is going to be even higher,” said Finance Director Melinda Hitz.

As of June, revenues were already up more than 5% or $150,000 from last year.

Many new businesses in town opened at Schulman Crossing and with more shops and restaurants set to open in the coming months officials hope to see those revenues keep on climbing.

“With those larger retailers here, people were going to Wichita or going to springs or going to other areas to shop at those places, and so that money is being kept locally,” said Steve Dyer, President of the Garden City Chamber of Commerce.

While sales tax revenues are up, hotel transient guest taxes have fallen.

“We’re down about 20%,” said Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Roxanne Morgan, but she says it shouldn’t be concerning.

When so many hotels went up at once room rates went down, bringing in fewer tax dollars per room.

That 20% decline is from numbers this quarter, but revenues from April alone show that hotel stays were up from April of last year.

“I think it’s just a matter of evening out at this point.  I think this time next year you won’t see the same problem.  We have to wait for the business to catch up to the hotels,” Morgan said.

With many out-of-towners in her shop Hands is optimistic.

“I’m just excited to see what the future holds for garden city, we’re doing amazing things here,” she said.

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