Fort Smith sales tax collections improve in July, still down for the year

by Aric Mitchell (amitchell@talkbusiness.net) 84 views 

Fort Smith sales tax revenues continued to improve in July but not by much, with $3.729 million collected from the city’s 2% tax, 1% of which goes to streets, 0.75% to bond issues, and 0.25% divided evenly between parks and fire departments.

The performance was an improvement of less than 1% from July 2017’s $3.696 million. Year-to-date, it moved the city slightly closer to break-even with $25.123 million through the first seven months against $25.163 million last year, a decline of 0.16%. At the end of May, the city was 1.04% behind.

To put the gain in further perspective, the city finished April with funds totaling $14.33 million, or 1.4% below the previous year’s tally of $14.529 million. Fort Smith Finance Director Jennifer Walker noted in a Friday (Sept. 7) memo, YTD city sales tax revenue is 1.1% ahead or $297,024 (street, bond, park/fire) after revising budget estimates.

In keeping with gains on the city side, the city’s share of county sales tax revenues for July 2018 was $1.487 million, or 3.26% more than last July’s $1.44 million and 4.3% above the revised budget for the month. Through the first seven months, the number is slightly up at $9.949 million against $9.884 million in 2017, a gain of 0.66% and $150,646 over the revised budget estimate.

“Overall, we see another slight improvement in sales tax figures in July. We expect to see this trend continue to hold steady with very slight incremental improvements through the next few months,” Walker said.

At a June 19 Board of Directors meeting, the Board — acting on recommendations from Walker — agreed to cut revenue expectations for the year by $330,000 (1.93%) from the county side and $1.286 million (3%) from estimated city sales tax receipts. To that point, performance was about $544,747 lower than expected (combined city and county).

Also on Wednesday, Walker provided updates on franchise fees and property taxes. Franchise fees (paid quarterly) were “16% below budget,” but “only 0.1% ($2,000) below budget when adjusted for timing of payments.” Likewise, property taxes year-to-date were $4.9 Million “and are approximately 12% above budget when adjusted for timing of payments,” Walker said.

PREVIOUS ANNUAL SALES TAX COLLECTION INFO
Fort Smith 2% sales tax collection (1% for streets; 0.75% for 2012 water/sewer bonds; 0.25% for fire and parks)
2017: $42.408 million
2016: $42.313 million
2015: $40.76 million
2014: $40.198 million
2013: $38.938 million
2012: $39.21 million
2011: $38.683 million
2010: $37.229 million
2009: $37.554 million
2008: $41.226 million
2007: $37.858 million
2006: $36.84 million

Fort Smith portion of 1% countywide sales tax
2017: $16.691 million
2016: $16.58 million
2015: $16.09 million
2014: $15.625 million
2013: $15.353 million
2012: $15.279 million
2011: $15.15 million
2010: $14.89 million
2009: $15.04 million
2008: $16.61 million
2007: $15.15 million
2006: $14.71 million

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