May 10

[ARCHIVED] Budget Reduction Q&A

The original item was published from May 10, 2018 9:25 AM to December 14, 2021 10:08 AM


The announcement of the Town’s recent budget reduction due to Parker’s decreased rate of sales tax growth generated several great questions, comments and discussions within our community regarding Town finances. Since we received quite a few inquiries, we’ve compiled a Q&A to make it easy to access and review all of the answers in one place. We appreciate everyone’s engagement on this topic and we’ll be sure to keep you informed about future plans. You may 
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How much sales tax does Parker receive?
The total sales tax rate in Parker is 8%, of which the Town receives 3%. Of the remaining 5%, the State of Colorado receives 2.9%, Douglas County receives 1%, RTD receives 1%, and SCFD receives 0.1%. Sales tax accounts for approximately 87% of all taxes collected by the Town.

Parker Sales Tax Rates Within RTD:

Sales Tax 1

Parker Sales Tax Rates Outside of RTD (all of Parker is located within SCFD):
Sales Tax 2

I shop in Lone Tree because they have lower sales tax.
Lone Tree’s total sales tax rate (6.8125%) is slightly lower than Parker (8% -- of which the Town receives 3%). This difference equates to approximately a $1.19 overall tax savings on a $100 purchase ($6.81 vs. $8.00). While this may save residents some funds long term (subtracting out the cost of fuel, wear and tear on a vehicle and your valuable time), it also doesn’t keep your local sales tax dollars in the Parker community to provide funding for road improvements, parks, community events or other amenities enjoyed by our residents.

Parker should stop building homes because there is already too much traffic.
We know that growth can be difficult for a community (and for the State of Colorado as a whole!). All land within the Town of Parker’s incorporated limits is already zoned for a specific use. Land owners have a legal right to develop their privately owned land, as long as the development meets the Town’s current zoning requirements (i.e. the Town does not have the authority to deny a commercial development on a property that is zoned commercial, or a residential development on land that is zoned residential, as long the project meets the Town’s standards and requirements). The Town works to ensure that Parker developments are of a high quality and help pay their portion of any community impacts, for instance, contributing to road enhancements, trail connections, etc. You can view the Town’s boundary map to see which developments are occurring in the Town of Parker, as many of the projects under construction are located on our Town borders in Lone Tree and unincorporated Douglas County.

Parker doesn’t care about traffic congestion and isn’t doing anything to make improvements:
Parker has comprehensive transportation network improvement plans in place. Since road projects can be very expensive, we have to build them over time as funding allows. You can read more about our current capital improvement plans at

How does Parker have a decrease in revenue? With all the people moving here to the new housing developments and apartments, aren't they bringing in more money for Parker?
The Town believes the decrease in sales tax revenue growth can be at least partially attributed to an increase in online shopping, which doesn’t currently have the same sales tax collection requirements as brick and mortar stores. People leaving Parker to shop, dine and play also has an impact on local sales tax revenues.

Once the single-family and multi-family developments currently under construction are completed and new residents come to Parker, we are hopeful that they will also support our great community by shopping locally!

Parker collects a high amount of property tax and it keeps increasing every year.
While property tax has increased over the years, the Town of Parker’s portion has remained the same (2.602 mills) since 1997. This amount equates to approximately $75 annually on a $400,000 home. You can view a full breakdown of your property tax and what entities it is paid to by visiting and typing your street address in the search bar. An example of the property tax breakdown is below. 
Property Tax

Does “shopping local” include big box stores?
Yes. If you make a $100 purchase at any store located in the Parker Town limits (locally owned or a chain), the Town receives 3% sales tax (of the total 8% collected) on that sale, which is used to pay for Town services, facilities, events and more. However, if you make a $100 purchase in Parker at an independent, local store, approximately $48 stays in your community (including payroll, goods/services purchased, profits spent local by owners, and charitable contributions). A chain restaurant/store located in Parker keeps $14 local, while only about $1 of a $100 online purchase comes back to Parker.

I’m confused by this decline in revenue. I sell on Amazon and collect Colorado sales tax. I was under the impression that a portion went back to the town the company is registered in? It certainly looks like it does when I pay the taxes to the state every quarter. Can you clarify?
Unless otherwise noted, items sold by LLC are subject to sales tax in Colorado and Parker in accordance with the applicable laws of the state. If your order contains one or more items from a seller other than LLC, it may be subject to state and local sales tax, depending upon the seller's business policies and the location of their operations.  When a Colorado vendor collects sales tax through Amazon Marketplace, the vendor is responsible for the collection and remittance of the tax.  Amounts remitted to the state (Colorado Department of Revenue) remain with the state and are not sent to the Town.

Does the town have the ability to see a breakdown of what portion of local retail sales tax is generated by the small, independent shops we love - versus the big box chains and anchors in shopping centers?
The Town can create a variety of sales tax reports based on many different variables. Many of our locally owned and operated businesses do remit significant sales tax dollars. Examples of these businesses include local restaurants, franchise restaurants, and liquor stores. However, sales at big box stores, chains and national retailers do generate a majority of the sales tax revenue in Parker.

Can we do more to market Parker as a destination to generate consistent, substantive sales tax revenue? 
Over the last several years, the Town has conducted extensive Visit Parker marketing campaigns, which included a variety of elements promoting the Parker community to our neighboring communities. Unfortunately, with the recent budget reductions, this was one of areas that was significantly reduced in 2018.

The Town of Parker does not plan for the future.
The Town has a strategic plan in place, which serves as a guiding document for the Town, outlining how we can best serve our residents in the future. The current strategic plan can be found at Other similar long-range planning documents include the Parker 2035 Master Plan, Parker Road Corridor Plan, Parker Parks and Recreation Master Plan, and the TransportationMaster Plan.

Water in Parker is so expensive.
The Parker Water and Sanitation District, which is a separate entity from the Town of Parker, provides water to the majority of Parker and you can read more about their services at