November sales tax revenue growth slows amid robust annual gain
The four largest cities in Northwest Arkansas have seen solid sales tax revenue growth throughout this year, but November revenue was tempered after the 10% gains in October. The cities of Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers, and Springdale reported cumulative sales tax revenue totaling $5.625 million this month, up 0.97% from a year ago.
Through the past 11 months, the combined cities report revenue of $66.905 million, up 10.18% or $6.1 million more than in the year-ago period. Consumer confidence is soaring and the growth around Northwest Arkansas continues.
Each city collects a local 2% tax on the sale of goods and services. Half of that goes toward repaying debt, the other 1% flows into the cities’ operating budgets. This report reflects the latter 1%. The November revenue relates to sales in September, creating a two-month lag in the reporting.
- Bentonville: $818,609, down 9.92%
- Fayetteville: $1.894 million, up 5.45%
- Rogers: $1.644 million, up 0.51%
- Springdale: $1.269 million, up 3.08%
Through Bentonville came up short in November, the city is having a record year overall with sales tax revenue totaling $15.088 million, up 37% from 2017. Revenue growth totals more than $4 million for Bentonville this year and leads the rest of the cities in growth percentage.
Mayor Bob McCaslin said the retail growth around the city is no doubt following the residential boomlet, with several large multifamily complexes going up in the southwest part of the city. He said there are rebates related to some of the larger employers in the city, which can make the sales tax revenue fluctuate widely from month-to-month. That said, McCaslin is pleased with the growth and said the city is in strong fiscal shape.
Rogers is also having a solid year with sales tax revenue growth of 4.5% for the past 11 months. Through November, the city reports sales tax revenue totaling $17.679 million. That compares to $16.92 million a year ago. The city has already reached its annual budget of $17.2 million for the year with still one month to go.
Rogers sales tax revenue has been offset by rebates totaling $400,937 the year. The city reports no rebates in October or November. Last year the city reported total rebates of $933,140.
While the retail business growth around Benton County has been strong, the cities have also been helped by collecting sales tax from Amazon, which is now required.
The growth in Washington County has been a bit slower overall than in Benton County. Fayetteville, though, has seen consistent mid-single digit growth throughout most of this year. Through November, Fayetteville reports revenue of $20.383 million, up from $19.531 million. That’s a 4.36% gain, totaling about $852,000.
City officials are pleased with the revenue growth, which is in line with the $21.595 million budgeted for the year.
Springdale reports sales tax revenue totaling $13.755 million through November. That compares to $13.273 million a year ago, a gain of 3.63%. Springdale officials budgeted conservatively with revenue expectations of $14.718 million for the full year. The city is within $963,000 of its hitting its budget next month. The city has averaged sales tax revenue of $1.250 million each month this year.
Consumer confidence is trending at a near 20-year high, lifted higher by a strong labor market. The November report on consumer confidence comes on Tuesday (Nov. 27). The past two months the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index has ranged from 135.3 to 137.9, the highest reading since September 2000.