The four largest cities in Northwest Arkansas reported strong sales tax growth though 2018. Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers and Springdale reported cumulative sales tax revenue through December of $72.99 million, up by 10.47% from a year ago.
December revenue was also strong across the board, with the biggest gains coming from Bentonville. The smallest city in the group reported sales tax revenue growth of 45.99%, capping off a banner year as more businesses open and grow in the city.
Each city collects 2% local sales tax and half of that money goes toward debt retirement. The other 1% funnels into the city’s operating budget. This report reflects the latter. December revenue related to sales in October, creating a two-month lag in the data.
· Bentonville, $1.4 million, up 45.99%
· Fayetteville, $1.83 million, up 7.05%
· Rogers, $1.55 million, up 5.89%
· Springdale, $1.29 million, up 7.28%
October represents craft fairs, the height of Arkansas Razorback football games as well as several conventions bringing more tourists to the region.
Bentonville is the city with the most growth in 2018 which city officials say relates to continued retail expansion following rooftops. It was a record for the city with total revenue through December of $16.5 million, up 37.9% year over year. The city is well within budget and outgoing Mayor Bob McCaslin said recently the strong tax revenue growth is a good sign for Bentonville’s future.
Rogers had a decent growth year in 2018 and came in within budget despite some sluggish months. The city reported revenue of $19.238 million through December, up 4.59% from a year ago. The city continues to see retail development and will likely see more as Topgolf (opening in 2020) and Duluth Trading Co. (under construction) are in development.
Fayetteville also had a respectable year of revenue growth given mall traffic overall is down around the country. Fayetteville has become second fiddle to Rogers in terms of choices for retailers from eateries to specialty. The last major retail announcement in Fayetteville was Whole Foods, which opened in March 2016. Since then, Rogers has landed Dave & Busters, At Home, Duluth Trading Co. and Topgolf. Each of these companies don’t usually locate in regions with populations under 1 million, but they did invest in Benton County.
Fayetteville reported sales tax revenue of $22.21 million through December, up 4.58%. Revenue growth improved in 2018, compared to 3.2% growth in 2017 in Fayetteville. The city’s revenue growth is ahead of budget for the year, according to city officials.
Springdale reported slower overall revenue growth in 2018. The city’s revenue totaled $15.04 million, up by 3.93%. This compared to 9.75% growth reported in 2017. The retail growth around Springdale has slowed since Walmart opened a new Supercenter, Neighborhood Market and then a Sam’s Club. A few eateries have opened in the past year including Cotton Patch Cafe, Blue Tequila and King Burrito.
Springdale city officials said they budget conservatively and revenue is in line with expectations for the year. They expect similar growth in 2019.
Sale Tax Revenue (January through December)
2018: $16.488 million
2017: $11.956 million
2018: $22.218 million
2017: $21.246 million
2018: $19.238 million
2017: $18.393 million
2018: $15.045 million
2017: $14.475 million