Fort Smith sales tax revenue almost flat in first half of 2019

by Michael Tilley (mtilley@talkbusiness.net) 145 views 

Fort Smith’s share of the 1% Sebastian County tax reached $8.51 million in the first six reporting months of the year, up 0.57% compared with the same period in 2018. The collections are up 1.17% from the budget estimate.

Fort Smith sales tax revenue for the street tax program during the first six reporting months of 2019 totaled $10.725 million, up 0.27% compared with the same period in 2018 and 0.21% above the budget estimate.

The tax revenue reported in June is from transactions in April.

Sales tax revenue for the street program in June 2019 was $1.748 million, down 3.72% from June 2018. The city’s share of the county sales tax for June was $1.4 million, down 3.11% from June 2019. Revenue from the county tax is critical in that it funds key services like police and fire.

City Director and Vice Mayor Kevin Settle said the numbers are not a surprise and the board is prepared to adjust the budget where necessary.

“This year will mirror image the past few years. We will make any adjustment necessary so that expenditur do not exceed revenues. We have made changes to our financial policy over the past few years that make sure that we don’t overspend what we bring in,” Settle said.

City Director Neal Martin said the minimal growth in the countywide tax revenue is something the Board of Directors will watch.

“I think the city is in good shape financially even with the flat countywide tax. Over the past few years, the BOD has done a good job building up fund reserves to be able to weather slower economic cycles. We planned well during the budget planning process in November of 2018 to continue to build up the fund reserves, so we are well positioned. I don’t see much change in this yet, but it is something we continue to monitor,” Martin told Talk Business & Politics.

Following are the previous five years of revenue from the county sales tax revenue.
2018: $17.043 million
2017: $16.691 million
2015: $16.58 million
2014: $16.09 million
2013: $15.625 million

Collections in Van Buren during the first five months of 2019 total $3.459 million, up 5.7% compared with the same period in 2018. Greenwood sales tax collections during the first five months total $1.116 million, up 1.08% compared with the same period in 2018.

Following are Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration figures that show Fort Smith metro county collections from January-May of 2019.
• Crawford County
Jan.-May 2019: $5.336 million, up 2.24%

• Franklin County
Jan.-May 2019: $1.54 million, up 5.4%

• Logan County
Jan.-May 2019: $1.945 million, down 0.25%

• Sebastian County
Jan.-May 2019: $12.792 million, down 0.2%

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