Northwest Arkansas sales tax revenue falls 5.95% in July report, up 3.63% year-to-date

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 1,103 views 

Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers and Springdale reported sales tax revenue of $6.169 million in the July report, down 5.96% from the year-ago period. Revenue fell in three of the cities, with Springdale reporting a fractional increase compared to the same month in 2019.

July revenue represents consumer purchases of goods and services in May. This report reflects the 1% local sales tax each city collects and puts towards it annual operating budgets. July marked the second consecutive month of downward pressure on revenue from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis which began to unfold in the region by early April.

Bentonville had the largest sales tax revenue decline falling 22.88% to $1.183 million in the July report. The July comparison was against a 41.47% increase in revenue in the year-ago period. Though July, Bentonville reports sales tax revenue of $8.829 million, up 4.2% from the same period last year. City officials have said revenue is ahead of the budget despite the economic slowdown.

Rogers reported sales tax revenue of $1.68 million, down 1.85% from the same month in 2019, which is a big improvement from the 19.45% decline in the June report. Year-to-date sales tax revenue totals $11.748 million, up 2.13% from $11.502 million in the year-ago period. Also through June the sales tax revenue in Rogers has been offset by rebates of $706,339. Rogers city officials budgeted for revenue of $19.9 million this year, an annual increase of 8.15%. Through July the city is 59% of the way to its annual budget goal.

Fayetteville reported revenue of $1.91 million in the July report, down 0.78% from the year-ago period. The July report was an improvement over the 11.3% decline reported in June and represents a slight rebound in consumer spending in the back half of May as retail began to reopen. Year-to-date sales tax revenue in Fayetteville totaled $13.207 million, up 2.23% from the year-ago period. City officials have said revenue is trending close to budget through the first half of 2020.

Springdale was the only city among the four to report positive revenue in July of $1.395 million, up 0.49% from the prior year. Springdale is also the only city to have positive sales tax growth in each month of this year. The city reports a total of $9.567 million in sales tax revenue through the July report, up 7.48% compared with the $8.939 million in the year-ago period.

Cumulative sales tax revenue for the four cities through the July report totals $43.352 million, up 3.63% from the same period a year ago. Rogers Mayor Greg Hines said June 23 that while sales tax numbers have been down year over year,  the declines have been better than expected. He said the county portion of the sales taxes are down more substantially and if the trend continues through the end of the year the loss would be roughly $2 million. Hines said he believes revenue will improve in the coming months to reach the annual goal.

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