Despite widespread COVID-19-induced economic challenges, consumers in Benton and Washington counties helped push sales tax revenue up 4.86% in 2020 for the combined four largest cities. Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers and Springdale reported cumulative 2020 sales tax revenue of $77.664 million, better than the $74.067 million in the prior-year period.
The December sales tax report reflects the total revenue reported over the prior 12 months. The report also reflects the 1% local tax each city collects on sales and services. The December report also showed each city with higher revenue for the month. The tax revenue reflects purchases made in October.
Rogers reported December revenue of $1.746 million, up just 1.94% from the year-ago period. For the year, Rogers saw a slim 1.56% gain in sales tax revenue. At $20.579 million, the city did outperform the $19.9 million budgeted for 2020. It was also the lowest annual growth rate for the city in the past five years.
Bentonville does not have as many retail stores as Rogers, but the city managed to grow its December sales by 20.12% from the prior year. And despite some ups and downs in revenue during 2020, Bentonville reported 12-month revenue through December at $16.338 million, up 5.96% from the same period in 2019.
Springdale continues to grow its sales tax revenue. For December, the revenue reported for the month was $1.393 million, up 3.81% from a year ago. Springdale reported revenue of $17.016 million for the 12-month period, up 8.31% from the prior year. Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse said the city is pleased with sales tax revenue growth in 2020, and while the city experienced higher costs associated with COVID-19, revenue was still within budget.
Fayetteville reported December tax revenue of $2.078 million, up 9.75% from the same month in 2019. The city has reported strong monthly sales tax revenue results over the past four months after students returned to the University of Arkansas. Revenue was weaker in late spring when the campus was emptied. For the past 12 months, Fayetteville reported sales tax revenue of $23.642 million, up 4.65% from the prior year.