Northwest Arkansas sales tax revenue growth flattens in October report

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 459 views 

Sales tax revenue growth in Northwest Arkansas’ four largest cities has consistently trended positive, but the growth curve flattened as combined revenue in the October report totaled $5.477 million, down 0.79% from the same month last year. This downward pause in growth is just the second time this year the four cities cumulatively did not outperform the year-ago period.

Fayetteville, Bentonville, Springdale and Rogers each collect 2% local sales tax on goods and services rendered. The October revenue reflects sales in August. Half of the local tax goes toward retiring debt and the other 1% is funneled into the cities’ operating budgets. This report reflects the latter.

Following are collections by city in the October report.
Bentonville: $983,037, down 15.09%
Fayetteville: $1.841 million, up 3.97%
Rogers: $1.475 million, up 3.08%
Springdale: $1.177 million, up 1.43%

Fayetteville’s sales tax revenue growth of 3.08% this month was roughly half the 6.43% growth the city reported a year ago. That said, it was an improvement over the 0.04% increase the city reported last month. Fayetteville’s sales tax revenue through October is $17.735 million, up 3.75% from the same period last year. For the full year of 2016 the city reported sales tax revenue of $20.587 million.

Rogers reported weaker sales tax revenue the past few months compared to last year. Through October the city reported revenue of $15.285 million, up 6.5% over the same period last year. The majority of that growth was in the first few months of this year, with growth lagging in the back half of the year. Roger city officials budgeted $16.5 million for sales tax revenue the year, a slight increase from the $15.264 million budgeted last year. With two months to go in calendar 2017 collections are well ahead of budget estimates.

Springdale’s tax revenue has been strong this year thanks in part to the opening of Sam’s Club and several new restaurants. But growth slowed in October. The city has had one month this year where revenue fell from the prior year and six months where the city posted double-digit revenue growth. Through October revenue totaled $12.041 million, up 9.64% year over year.

Springdale city leaders have enjoyed retail growth during the year and they expect that will only continue when Arkansas Children’s Hospital opens its Springdale campus in early 2018. A $180 million commercial project is already planned near the children’s hospital. Real estate broker Greg Taylor told Talk Business & Politics the large scale development will include a 40,000-square-foot office building, and likely an upscale hotel. Retail, restaurant and a bank are also being eyed for the 27-acre project known as Parkway Plaza.

Bentonville has seen its sales tax revenue growth explode this year with proceeds through October totaling $10.098 million, up 10.34% over the same period in 2016. But on the heels of five solid months of double-digit gains, revenue fell 15.09% in October.

The dip is likely related to a rebate which happens on occasion among all the cities in the region. City leaders have told Talk Business & Politics they are excited to see the ongoing investments being made in Bentonville and there is no sign of the local economy slowing at this juncture.

SALES TAX REVENUE (January through October)
2017: $10.098 million
2016: $9.151 million

2017: $17.735 million
2016: $17.093 million

2017: $15.285 million
2016: $14.351 million

2017: $12.041 million
2016: $10.982 million