January sales tax revenue among the four largest cities in Northwest Arkansas rose a healthy 10.61% from a year ago with $5.302 million flowing into the combined city coffers of Fayetteville, Springdale, Bentonville and Rogers.
This was a record gain for the combined cities with each of them seeing stronger year-over-year revenue. January sales tax relates to goods and services sold in November, and each city collects a 2% local tax. Half of that goes to debt reduction and the remaining 1% flows in city operating budgets. This report reflects the latter 1%.
The January report follows a 2016 that was a record year of collections for the region.
Bentonville showed the biggest year-over-year gains in January with revenue rising 22.74% to $886,077. Bentonville’s fiscal year 2016 includes the January revenue and Mayor Bob McCaslin said the city remains fiscally sound, despite volatile revenue month to month from rebates relating mainly to the city’s largest employer.
“The important thing for Bentonville is that the city continues to be blessed by outside investors and local businesses wanting to locate here. We budget very conservatively each year and 2017 is no different,” McCaslin told Talk Business & Politics.
January revenue in Rogers rose 11.85% from a year ago with $1.511 million received by the city. The January revenue was the highest gross receipts on record thanks to expanded retail and restaurant growth across the city. Like Bentonville, Rogers also budgets conservatively. For 2017 Rogers has budgeted sales tax revenue of $16.5 million, up 8.09% over the $15.264 million in 2016. Rogers sales tax revenue in fiscal 2016 totaled $17.26 million, well ahead of the budget estimate.
January sales tax revenue in Springdale rose 12.2% over a year ago. The city’s revenue of $1.175 million, was the best January on record. City and chamber of commerce officials in Springdale continue to be enthusiastic about the facelift the city is getting its downtown area. The latest being the $2.33 million acquisition of Magnolia Gardens event venue located in downtown by an entity controlled by Walton Enterprises. The deal includes 13.4 acres split into several parcels. This is not the first time Walton Enterprises has invested in downtown Springdale, the group also owns two other buildings with a combined 29,616 square feet of space. No plans have been announced for any of these Walton controlled properties.
Scott Edmondson, vice president of economic development for the Springdale Chamber, told the Springdale City Council on Tuesday that as many as 15 investors and site selectors have been looking for property and investment opportunities in Springdale. Edmondson said the western side of town near Arkansas Children’s Hospital NWA and the new Sam’s Club which are expected to be completed later this year remain the most sought after areas of town for retail and restaurants. Dunkin Donuts is planning a new location at Elms Springs Road and Chick-fil-A is rumored to be scouting locations in west Springdale.
Fayetteville saw a 3.38% rise in January sales tax revenue from a year ago. The city received $1.729 million in revenue this month, also a record year.
Mayor Lioneld Jordan recently spoke about the record sales tax revenue growth over the past two years in his state of the city address. Last year Fayetteville’s sale tax revenue grew 4.6%, a bit slower than the 7.5% growth reported in 2015, but Jordan is optimistic 2017 will be another positive year of growth. He said investments continue to pour in as the city invests in new infrastructure in its western and southern parts of town.
It is uncertain what impact local job losses pegged at roughly 700-800 at Wal-Mart’s corporate offices could have on the region this year. Kathy Deck, director for the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Arkansas, said the region’s economy is strong enough to weather restructuring by the retail giant.
Expansions in health care and supply chain at J.B. Hunt Transport are positive for continued job growth in the next two to three years. Deck will provide a complete economic outlook on the region Friday (Jan. 27) at the University of Arkansas Regional Economic Forecast Luncheon in Rogers.
SALES TAX REVENUE (January report)
2017: $1.729 million
2016: $1.673 million
2017: $1.511 million
2016: $1.361 million
2017: $1.176 million
2016: $1.048 million