Consumers were a little more eager to spend mid summer perhaps spurred on by lower gasoline prices that saves the average two-car family between $100 to $200 per month according to AAA. The added cash may have boosted Northwest Arkansas sales tax revenue reported by the region’s four largest cities in September.
Fayetteville, Springdale, Bentonville and Rogers cumulatively reported sales tax revenue of $4.881 million in September, rising 10.8% from $4.405 million a year ago. The September revenue is comprised of a 2% local sales tax charged on goods and services purchased in July. That tax is remitted to the state in August and the cities receive their portion of the tax in September, creating a two-month lag in the reporting. Each of the cities use half of the tax for debt repayment and the remaining 1% goes into their city budgets. This report reflects the latter.
For the first nine months of the year sales tax revenue reported by the four cities totaled $40.808 million, up 8.49% from the same period in 2014.
Springdale has led the region in sales tax growth this year. Through September the city’s sales tax is up 11.3% in part thanks to Wal-Mart adding a supercenter and new Neighborhood Market Grocery since September 2014. Several new restaurants including Foghorns, Panda Express and the Whataburger under construction on Elm Springs Road are also expected to keep sales tax growing in the coming months.
Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse said the newly expanded Sam’s Furniture set to open next year and the Sam’s Club also on tap for 2016 should keep the upward trend going. Sprouse said the city has been playing catchup with neighboring towns and it feels good to be leading the pack. The city has posted more than $1 million in monthly sales tax for six out of the past nine months.
In the September report, Springdale reported sales tax of $1.078 million, up 10.52% from a year ago.
Fayetteville Mayor Lionel Jordan is happy with the sales tax revenue his city has gleaned so far this year. Through September the city reports sales tax revenue of $14.522 million, up 6.82% from the same period last year. Jordan said this entire year the city’s sales tax revenue has been running ahead of the last year with each of the past nine months outpacing the same period in 2014. He expects a strong finish to 2015 with Bikes, Blues and BBQ and Razorback football.
In September, Fayetteville reported sales tax revenue of $1.636 million, rising 10.42% from the $1.482 million reported in the same month last year.
Bentonville reported a very strong September with sales tax rising 22.47% from the same month last year. The city’s September revenue was $853,978, compared to $697,317 a year ago. Through the first nine months of the year Bentonville reports $8.034 million in sales tax revenue, compared to $7.389 million last year, a gain of 8.73%.
Mayor Bob McCaslin recently told The City Wire that the city is blessed with great amenities such as Crystal Bridges and now the Amazeum which are magnets that draw in folks from all over the world. Crystal Bridges recently registered its 2 millionth visitor. McCaslin said Crystal Bridges is a material contributor in sales tax to the city’s budget from its restaurant, gift shop and meeting space rentals. He said the even through general admission is free, Crystal Bridges generates “substantial sales” over a year’s time.
Several sold out concerts at the Walmart AMP also helped Rogers to generate more sales tax revenue through September. The city reports sales tax revenue of $11.979 million for the first nine months of the year, up 7.71% from the same period in 2014.
City leaders recently told The City Wire that sales tax revenue collections were running ahead of the $14.4 million budget for 2015. Casey Wilhelm, finance director for the city of Rogers, said earlier this year that she expected only modest sales tax growth for 2015. The region is growing and there is building investments being made as our jobs numbers and consumer confidence improves, Wilhelm said.
SALES TAX REVENUE (January through September)
2015: $8.034 million
2014: $7.389 million
2015: $14.522 million
2014: $13.531 million
2015: $11.979 million
2014: $11.121 million
2015: $9.272 million
2014: $8.327 million