NWA sales tax revenue rises in August report, up 8.23% year-to-date

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 137 views 

Revenue from sales tax collected by Northwest Arkansas’ four largest cities rose 7.13% in August after only fractional gains in July. The cities of Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers and Springdale reported combined sales tax revenue of $5.081 million, compared to $4.743 million a year ago. Bentonville was the only city in the report to see softer sales tax revenue in August.

The August revenue is a result of a 2% local sales tax on goods and services sold in June. Each of the cities in this report use half of that revenue for debt retirement and the other half is funneled into the city’s annual budget. This report tracts the latter.

Through the first eight months of 2015, cumulative sales tax among these cities has risen 8.23% to $38.937 million from the same period last year. While Bentonville has had the widest swings in revenue collections from month-to-month, city leaders say they are pleased with the overall revenue which is trending ahead of budgeted expenses.

• Bentonville $897,671, down 1.13%
• Fayetteville, $1.653 million, up 8.43%
• Rogers, $1.456 million, up 14.44%
• Springdale, $1.074 million, up 3.49%

The healthy August revenue could be attributed to a busy June starting with the annual Wal-Mart Shareholder’s meeting, four sold-out concerts at the Walmart AMP and the first annual Northwest Arkansas Food Festival. To cap off the month the annual LPGA event — NWA Championship — at Pinnacle County Club also was a well attended event.

Fayetteville Mayor Lionel Jordan recently told The City Wire that he’s pleased with the sales tax growth throughout this summer. The new Whataburger restaurant opening in July along with Cane’s Chicken and a few other new eateries in Fayetteville should mean an uptick in revenue next month as well.

Economists expect lower gasoline prices will continue to mean consumers eat out more as they have a little more disposable income in their pockets. Tyson Foods CEO Donnie Smith recently told The City Wire that chicken quick serve as well as Mexican Food quick serve restaurants were the among the biggest winners from lower gasoline prices as consumers have been eating out more throughout the summer.

The city of Rogers led the sales tax revenue growth in August. The $1.456 million in sales tax revenue for August was the second highest month reported this year, and it was the best August on record, according the city officials. Through August, Rogers’ sales tax revenue has risen 8.06% over a year ago. The city has added more than $79,500 in sales tax revenue receipts through the first eights months of this year. 

Looking forward, Rogers has a few new restaurant openings that have yet to show up in the sales tax numbers. Pei Wei Asian Kitchen, Moe’s Southwest Grill and Uncle Maddio’s Pizza have opened since June and Whataburger is expected to open at Pleasant Grove Road later this month. Rogers is also anticipating more sales tax from the Burlington Coat Factory which is slated to open in late September. It will be the only Burlington Coat Factory in the region.

Springdale city leaders also are pleased with sales tax revenue growth they have witnessed this year, which is up 11.45% through August when compared to a year ago. The Springdale city coffers have seen more than $84,000 added this year from sales tax revenue.

Whataburger has been approved by the city and will open later this fall. Panda Express is slated to open next month, both are located in northwest Springdale off of Elm Springs Road.

Fayetteville continues to see growth in its restaurant sector. Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is set to open next month and the city has approved another Whataburger for North College Avenue. Whole Foods is also expected to be another retail hotspot in the city when it also opens this fall. 

Fayetteville’s sales tax revenue through August is $12.885 million, up 6.68% over last year. The August revenue was a record for that month according to Fayetteville city officials. It was also the second highest month of revenue reported this year.

Bentonville, the smallest of the four cities in this report has received $7.18 million in sales tax revenue through August. This has added more than $488,000 to the city’s revenue compared to the same period last year. On tap in Bentonville is a new location for Springdale-based Core Brewing Company to be located at One Airport Road, in a new retail strip center just off of Rainbow Curve and South Walton Boulevard. Annie Anne’s Pretzels is also planning to locate in this same strip center.

Denise Land, Bentonville’s finance director, has said the city is in good fiscal shape with revenue tracking a little above budget.

Sales Tax Revenue (January through August)
2015: $7.180 million
2014: $6.691 million

2015: $12.885 million
2014: $12.049 million

2015: $10.667 million
2014: $9.871 million

2015: $8.193 million
2014: $7.351 million