Fort Smith revenue down in April, up year-to-date

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 66 views 

After six consecutive months of year-over-year gains, tax collections for Fort Smith were down less than 1% in the April report. However, the year-to-date collections are more than 5% above the 2011 period.

Each of the city’s 1% sales taxes (1% for streets and 1% for water and sewer projects) collected $1.676 million in the April report, down 0.56% from the same period in 2011. The collections were up 0.01% compared to budget estimates. (Because the state of Arkansas has a two-month delay in reporting collections back to the cities, the city of Fort Smith — for budgeting purposes — has historically reflected the collections on a one-month delay. Which is to say, the tax collections remitted to cities in May are from taxes collected in March and transferred by merchants to the state in April.)

For the first 4 reporting months of the year, each of the city’s 1% sales taxes collected $6.792 million, up 5.06% compared to the 2011 period and 5.66% above budget forecasts.

Collections in 2011 of the two 1% taxes totaled $38.683 million, ahead of the $37.229 million during 2010 and ending a two-year decline in tax collections.

Fort Smith’s share of the county 1% sales tax in the April report is $1.311 million, down 0.3% compared to April 2011. The collection was up 2.56% compared to the revenue estimate. For the first 4 months of 2012, the countywide tax has generated $5.273 million for Fort Smith, up 3.81% compared to 2011 and up 3.11% compared to budget forecasts.

The countywide tax collection is critical because the revenue is a little more than 40% of the city’s general budget of roughly $42 million. A majority of the general fund budget general supports fire, police and other critical city functions.

While the tax collections remain on a positive track, the city’s franchise fee collections are down.

“The franchise fees collected through May 22, 2012 totaled $1,575,503. At the current rate of payments from the franchised companies, the total revenue for 2012 may be approximately $170,000 below the original budget estimate,” Fort Smith Finance Director Kara Bushkuhl noted in her report. “Once the second quarter payments are received (August 15, 2012), there will be a better projection of expected revenues.”

Franchise fee revenue during 2011 totaled $6.571 million, up 1.23% compared to the 2010 collections of $6.492 million. The 2010 collections were up 8.37% compared to 2009.

Collections in Sebastian County totaled $6.98 million, ahead of the $6.763 million during the 2011 period.

Sales tax collections in Crawford County reported during the first quarter of 2012 total $1.515 million, just slightly ahead of the $1.512 million, according to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.

Collections in the county totaled $6.258 million during 2011, up compared to the $6.248 million during 2010.

In Van Buren, the first quarter reporting has collections at $849,606, down 2.4% compared to the same period in 2011. The city collected $3.613 million during 2011, an improvement over $3.568 million in 2010.

Collections in Alma totaled $555,111 during the first quarter, better than the $540,310 during the 2011 period. During 2011, the city collected $2.257 million, slightly ahead of the $2.252 million during 2010.

2% sales tax collection (1% for streets; 1% for water/sewer bonds)
2011: $38.683 million
2010: $37.229 million
2009: $37.554 million
2008: $41.226 million
2007: $37.858 million
2006: $36.840 million

Fort Smith portion of 1% countywide sales tax
2011: $15.15 million
2010: $14.89 million
2009: $15.04 million
2008: $16.61 million
2007: $15.15 million
2006: $14.71 million

2011: $11.458 million
2010: $11.105 million
2009: $10.092 million
2008: $9.381 million

FRANCHISE FEE REVENUE (with % comparison to previous year)
2011: $6.571 million (1.23%)
2010: $6.492 million (8.37%)
2009: $5.99 million (-18.68%)
2008: $7.366 million (8.97%)
2007: $6.76 million (-8.72%)
2006: $7.406 million (8.38%)