Northwest Arkansas sales tax revenue up almost 15% in May reports

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 174 views 

The four largest Northwest Arkansas cities reported a healthy sales tax revenue gain of 14.92% in their May reports. Three of the four cities’ sales tax receipts rose by double digits compared to a year ago.

Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville reported cumulative sales tax revenue of $5.192 million with each city recording May revenue in excess of $1 million. A year ago the combined revenue was $4.517 million for May.

May sales tax consists of a 2% tax charged by the cities on goods and services in March, which creates a 2-month lag in the reporting. The cities use half of the revenue for debt retirement, while the remaining 1% flows into their city budgets. This report reflects the latter 1%.

Sales tax receipts in Bentonville rose 33.76% over a year ago.The city had revenue of $1.088 million, compared to $813,591 in May 2014. Sales tax revenue has outpaced last year in four of the first five months of 2015. 

Bentonville was one of the fastest growing smaller cites in the nation between July 2013 and July 2014, according to recent U.S. Census updates. With Centerton, the area added more than 10,000 residents in that one-year period. 

The Northwest Arkansas Council reported Tuesday (May 26) that Bentonville grew by 3.7% to 41,613 residents while its neighbor Centerton grew 6% to 11,193 residents. 

Mayor Bob McCaslin said continued population growth is helping fuel more retail and restaurant demand in the city, which has largely been a business and tourist magnet. Smashburger will open its first restaurant in the Natural State this week on South Walton Boulevard in Bentonville. Paradise Donuts is coming to North Walton Boulevard in the former USA Drug location. 

“There is always room for another donut place. I love them,” McCaslin told The City Wire.

Rogers’ sales tax revenue rose 12.3% to $1.4 million in May. Total sales tax revenue is for the first five reporting months of 2015 is $6.566 million, up 7.88%. The gain of more than $400,000 puts Rogers’ city balance sheet in a strong fiscal position as officials budgeted just a modest increase for 2015.

Continued retail development is underway across the city with a new Neighborhood Market near the downtown region opending this summer. Further south near Pleasant Grove Road, Burlington Coat factory, an off-price retailer is under construction adjacent to the Ashley Furniture Show room. Burlington is slated to open this fall, and with a store also in Fort Smith, will be among the first two stores in western Arkansas.

Residents in Springdale are spending more of their money at home as evidenced by a 12.22% gain in the May sales tax report. Springdale reported May sales tax revenue of $1.056 million, compared to $941,066 a year ago. For the first five months of this year sale tax revenue totals $4.938 million, a gain of 13.8% from the $4.338 million reported in the same period of 2014.

Part of that gain comes from the new Walmart Supercenter which opened in late August last year. Since then a new Neighborhood Market has opened on Don Tyson Parkway near I-49. A Sam’s Club has been announced near the U.S. 412 exit on I-49. 

Mayor Doug Sprouse said the $15 million 4-lane expansion and extension of 56th Street from Don Tyson to Har-Ber Meadows will open up another corridor that should facilitate the growth of retail and access on the west side of the city. The project is underway and expected to be completed next year.

Fayetteville, the largest city is the region, boasts a population of 80,621 as of July 2014, according the most recent U.S. Census update. It was the one city of the four in this report that did not report double-digit sales tax gains in May. City records indicate Fayetteville reported $1,647 million in sales tax in May, a solid gain of 8.61% from the same month last year.

The larger Fayetteville’s growth has been at a slower pace than its neighboring cities in the recent months. But coming soon there will be major draws for natural food enthusiasts and hamburger lovers as the region’s only Whole Foods and What-a-Burger restaurant are slated to open this fall. Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is also coming to west Fayetteville later this year in the burgeoning retail area of West Wedington and Salem Road.

Through May, sales tax revenue in Fayetteville totaled $8.022 million, up 7.31% from the year-ago period. 

City officials said Fayetteville is solid fiscal shape over a year ago. Mayor Lioneld Jordan recently told The City Wire that sales tax growth is on a much better pace in 2015. He said there is a lot of building across the city and expects growth to continue on the east and west sides of town.

Sales Tax Revenue (January through May reports)
2015: $4.472 million
2014: $3.958 million

2015: $8.022 million
2014: $7.475 million

2015: $6.566 million
2014: $6.086 million

2015: $4.938 million
2014: $4.338 million