Craighead County Sees Small Drop In April Sales Tax Revenue, Jonesboro Sees Small Increase

by Michael Wilkey ([email protected]) 82 views 

It was a month that the character Maxwell Smart from the 1960s television show “Get Smart” would have appreciated when it came to sales tax revenues in Craighead County.

“We missed it by that much,” Craighead County Treasurer Terry McNatt said of the $1,417,561.89 in sales tax revenues the county collected.

However, the numbers for April were about $3,100 lower than what was collected in the same time frame during April 2014.

The city of Jonesboro saw a small increase in sales tax revenue brought in during April. The one-cent sales tax raised $1,289,226.99, up from the $1,245,746 brought in during March.

As for the county numbers, the narrow drop was the first decrease, albeit a small one, since Sept. 2014. McNatt said the county has seen increases in 12 of the last 14 months, keyed for the most part, on retail growth.

“We were thankful for nice numbers. (But with the drop), it is like losing a ballgame. You don’t like it,” McNatt said.

While not having any specifics, McNatt said the drop might be attributed to a small increase in gas prices as well as recent rains in Northeast Arkansas.

McNatt said he has been watching gas prices, which have averaged in the $2.20 range in Jonesboro. The rain, which fell Friday throughout Northeast Arkansas, has not helped.

“If the rain would quit, the construction would pick up,” McNatt said, noting the weather has created wet fields. “Also, the ranchers and farmers can’t get in the fields due to the rains.”

The weather also has an impact on agriculture, McNatt said.

The areas outside of Jonesboro in Craighead County are known for farming. The lack of farmers in the field typically has an impact on local gin operators, restaurants and convenience stores, McNatt said.

While there was a small drop in county sales tax revenue for March, the glass was also mostly full for the first four months of 2015.

The county collected $6,157,784.54 during the first quarter, up 35.05 % compared to the same period in 2014.

According to figures released Friday, the county saw three consecutive months of negative growth to start 2014 with the drops averaging 2.5 % a month.

However, the county had a 4.04% increase in January, a 15.6 % increase in February and an 11.98% increase in March.