The four largest cities in Northwest Arkansas report a 18.14% jump in sales tax revenue on January sales. Cumulative revenue rose to $6.705 million in the March report, the strongest reading for the month on record.
Each city collects local sales tax and this report reflects 1% of the tax revenue that contributes to annual operating budgets.
Bentonville’s January sales tax revenue reported in March was $1.614 million, compared to $1.095 million a year ago. Through the first three reporting months of 2021 (which represents sales in November, December and January), Bentonville reports revenue of $5.211 million, a gain of more than $1.13 million over the same period last year.
Rogers has the lowest monthly gains in sales tax revenue this month rising 4.04% from the March report last year. The city reported record March revenue of $1.656 million. Rogers Mayor Greg Hines said the city is in strong financial shape despite having its hospitality and leisure sectors hit hard amid the pandemic. Hines said the city held sales tax revenue projects steady for 2021, saying the growth from last year exceeded expectations and there is plenty of uncertainty as to when the world will return to normalcy.
“We look for sales tax revenue to mostly repeat last year with some growth in the back half pending on the success of the vaccines against the COVID-19 variants. If these vaccines fend off a fourth spike in cases then we should be able to move more toward normalization,” Hines said.
Hines said consumers are ready to spend again but moving ahead too soon could be risky. He said the city will reopen its aquatic center this year, but there will likely be capacity constraints at least initially. He said loss of the Walmart AMP and other large entertainment venues has hurt revenue and there is no assurance large venues will reopen this year. Hines said demand is growing and there will be no holding consumers back when herd immunity is reached. He likened it to a 350-pound gorilla on the backs of businesses and organizations. He said the future looks bright if they can hold on a bit longer.
Rogers is set to welcome new restaurants this year. Texas Roadhouse is looking at a new site at 2922 S. 26th Street and McClard’s Barbecue is coming to the Pinnacle area at 5001 W. Pauline Whitaker Boulevard across from Walmart Neighborhood Market and Andy’s Frozen Custard. Hines said the Culver’s Burger chain is still coming, though when is unknown. He said if the chain doesn’t break ground soon they will have to reapply though the city’s planning and development office.
Through the first three reporting months of 2021, Rogers reports sales tax revenue totaling $5.716 million, up from $5.476 million in the same period last year. Hines said with all that has transpired amid the pandemic he’s happy with the growth.
Fayetteville reported a 10.82% jump in its sales tax report for March with revenue totaling $1.973 million, up $200,000 from the same period last year and the best March on record. January is typically a good month for Fayetteville revenue as students return to the University of Arkansas for the spring semester. For the first three reporting months of 2021 Fayetteville’s sales tax revenue totals $6.445 million, up from $5.981 million during the same period last year.
Springdale continues to see tax revenue growth with a 21.013% gain in the March report. The city’s revenue totaled $1.461 million, up from $1.207 million reported a year ago. Mayor Doug Sprouse has said the city’s growth continues as more residents are spending money in town with online orders amid the pandemic. Through the first three reporting months of this year, Springdale revenue totals $4.471 million, up compared to $4.008 million in the same time last year.