Bikes, Blues and BBQ, Razorback football and other events helped push sales tax revenue 17.26% higher for Northwest Arkansas’ four largest cities in September, compared to the year-ago period.
Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville cumulatively reported sales tax revenue of $5.407 million in November, a gain of more than $796,000 from the same month last year.
Each month the cities collect a 2% local sales tax on goods and services. That tax is remitted to the state the following month and the revenue is returned to the cities the next month creating a two-month lag in the reporting. November revenue reflects September sales. One percent of the proceeds goes toward debt retirement and the remaining 1% is funneled into the respective city budget. This report reflects the latter 1%.
Following is the revenue in the November report for the four cities.
• Bentonville: $1.266 million, up 56.95%
• Fayetteville: $1.7 million, up, 8.71%
• Rogers: $1.395 million, up 11.13%
• Springdale: $1.045 million, up 6.10%
Year-to-date the four cities in this report have seen steady growth over last year, which has their budgets in solid fiscal shape with just one month to go in 2015. Bentonville, whose sales have been the most volatile month-to-month soared in September thanks in part to a growing Farmer’s Market and several large events that brought visitors to town. Melanie Myers of Downtown Bentonville Inc., said the squirrel cookoff, Sugar Creek Days and Bike Blues and BBQ each took place in September. She said every hotel room in the city was booked this year for Bikes, Blues and BBQ and the restaurants were also busy.
Fayetteville can attribute higher September sales tax to back to college and growing student enrollment as well as the annual Bikes, Blues and BBQ crowd. In Rogers the Walmart AMP continues to pull in large crowds and also credits tax revenue gain from the annual motorcycle rally. A study compiled by the University of Arkansas in 2013 found the annual three-day motorcycle / music and food festival generates between $69 million to $80 million.
Springdale has the lapped the time when its newest Walmart Supercenter opened in mid-August 2014. However, the city continues to see growth in sales tax from more retail and restaurant options than were available in prior years. The city added a new hamburger hub on Elm Springs Road with WhatABurger’s third restaurant opening in the region. A Captain D’s Seafood is now underway on Thompson Avenue and Sam’s Club is still on tap for next year.
Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse has said the city is playing catch-up with its neighbors in some regards but he’s pleased with the overall growth seen in sales tax revenue this year and future projects slated for development in 2016. Springdale’s sales tax revenue reported this year totals $11.363 million, up 9.73% from a year ago.
Mayors in Fayetteville, Rogers and Bentonville also have said they are pleased with tax revenue growth this year amid a stronger economy and more consumer spending related to a growing population and lower gasoline prices. While planning fiscal budgets for 2016, the mayors have said they will be conservative, but also share an optimistic view for the regional growth to continue.
SALES TAX REVENUE (January through November)
2015: $10.2 million
2014: $9.126 million
2015: $17.958 million
2014: $16.749 million
2015: $14.719 million
2014: $13.651 million
2015: $11.363 million
2014: $10.355 million