Sales tax for Fort Smith general fund up 2.1% in 2019, 5.6% over budget estimate

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 666 views 

Fort Smith’s share of the 1% Sebastian County sales tax in 2019 was $17.265 million, up 2.1% over 2018, and up 5.66% over the city’s budget estimate. During the decade, the tax is up 16% from $14.892 million in 2010 to the $17.265 million in 2019 – a gain of $2.373 million.

The city’s share of the countywide tax is important because the revenue provides money for the city’s general fund budget, with much of that budget paying for police, fire and other essential city services. The 2019 total was $397,183 more than city officials budgeted to spend within the general fund budget.

The tax posted year-over-year gains each year during the entire 2010-2019 decade, with the largest gain being 3.04% in 2016, and the lowest gain of 0.49% posted in 2013.

Fort Smith Director Neal Martin, who is serving his first four-year term on the board, said the 2019 numbers indicate a regional economy that is growing.

“I am encouraged that our numbers are improving, but we want to continue seeing growth in these figures. We want to continue to see wage growth and hopefully that reflects in sales tax numbers. We’ve seen growth in the value of building permits in 2019 also, so our economy is continuing to expand and reflect the good things occurring in our city,” Martin told Talk Business & Politics.

Fort Smith’s 1% street tax – used for maintenance and new construction on streets, bridges and drainage – generated $21.73 million in 2019, up 1.4% over 2018, and up 6.5% over the budget estimate. The 2019 total was $579,260 more than city officials budgeted to spend on the street tax program.

The 1/4 cent sales tax for fire and parks generated $5.432 million in 2019, above the $5.375 million in 2018, and 4.6% above the budget estimate. The total above the budget estimate was $102,565.

PREVIOUS ANNUAL COLLECTION INFO
Fort Smith 1% sales tax collection for streets
2019: $21.73 million
2018: $21.503 million
2017: $21.204 million
2016: $21.156 million
2015: $20.308 million

Fort Smith portion of 1% countywide sales tax
2019: $17.265 million
2018: $17.043 million
2017: $16.691 million
2016: $16.58 million
2015: $16.09 million

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