Northwest Arkansas sales tax revenue up 16.3% in August report

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 489 views 

Consumer spending on goods and services helped push sales tax revenue in Northwest Arkansas’ four largest cities 16.3% higher than a year ago and 20% above the pre-pandemic period in 2019, according to the August report.

Combined revenue from Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers and Springdale totaled $7.893 million in the August report, which reflects sales in June. This is a gain of $1.1 million year-over-year and $1.32 million more than the same period of 2019.

Each city in the region collects local sales tax on goods sold and services rendered. The August report showed Bentonville with 35.01% gains in June revenue compared to a year ago with revenue of $1.875 million. Sales tax revenue was up 20.85% from the year prior, according to Bentonville’s recent report. City leaders said June is typically a strong month as youth sports tournaments are a draw as is the annual Walmart shareholder’s meeting that brings thousands of visitors into the city. Walmart did not hold the annual meeting in June 2020 or this year, but revenue was still higher than in June 2019, when the event did take place.

As Walmart has had its corporate employees work from home over the past 17 months and the corporate headquarters was largely closed to suppliers, the city still managed to hold on to most of its restaurants that continue to serve up more take-out and delivery than in-person dining. The general manager of Taziki’s Cafe in Bentonville, told Talk Business & Politics take-out dining has been robust since the pandemic hit in early 2020. Management said the restaurant is starting to see more in-person dining even amid the Delta variant scares of late, but higher take-out demand is likely here to stay.

Bentonville’s sales tax revenue generated this year totals $13.959 million, up 36.7% from the $10.205 million reported in the same period last year, and up 39.5% compared with the same period in 2019.

Rogers reports June sales tax revenue of $2.153 million in the August report, up 18% from a year ago, and 19.5% more than August 2019. As one of two large shopping retail centers in the region, Rogers continues to lure in more restaurants and stores despite the lingering COVID concerns.

Rogers sales tax revenue reported through August totals $15.43 million, up 13.68% from the same period in 2020, and 15.9% higher than the pre-pandemic period of 2019. City leaders said the strong 2021 results are on top of more than $654,000 of revenue conceded from tax rebates through July of this year. City officials in Rogers budgeted for sales tax revenue of $19.9 million this year, and with four months to go the city has achieved 77.5% of that goal. Mayor Greg Hines said the budget was conservative given all of the unknowns around the pandemic and recovery.

Springdale sales tax revenue totaled $1,742 million in the August report. Revenue was up 12.81% from the same period last year and 31.43% higher than the pre-pandemic period of 2019. The growth in sales tax revenue is attributed to population growth and more online shopping. Through the August report, sales tax revenue in Springdale totaled $12.442 million, up 11.9% from the same time last year. Revenue was also up 21% from the same period in 2019.

Mayor Doug Sprouse said he is excited about the recovery aspects for the economy even as the Delta variants concerns rise. He said the city moved forward with outdoor events this summer which were well-attended. He’s also excited about more new restaurants in the city.

Fayetteville, recently named the second largest Arkansas city behind Little Rock with a population of 93,949 as of 2020, posted sales tax revenue growth of 4.78% in the June revenue. Compared to the same month in 2019, sales tax revenue rose 12.64%.

Like the other cities in the region, Fayetteville is also seeing growth in its restaurant sector with a new Walk On’s restaurant to be located at 1199 N. Shiloh Drive in Fayetteville.

The Buttered Biscuit is also preparing to open its fourth location in the region this fall with a new restaurant at 1754 N. College Ave., in Fayetteville. Anna Russell, co-founder and co-owner of the eatery said she had been looking for the right Fayetteville location for the last three years.

“We are so thrilled to finally find a spot to bring our made from scratch breakfast to our Fayetteville neighbors. … It is incredible to see these dreams come to life,” Russell said.

Fayetteville’s sales tax revenue reported through the first eight months of this year totals $17.582 million, up 15% year-over-year. Revenue is also up 18.6% over the same time in 2019.