Fort Smith sales tax revenue up 15% through August report

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 183 views 

Fort Smith’s share of the Sebastian County sales tax brought in $1.81 million to the city in August, 12.71% higher than the $1.6 million in August 2020, according to the city’s August sales tax report.

Numbers in August’s report reflect July’s transactions. In the 2021 budget, the city budgeted $1.6 million, the same amount the sales tax generated in July 2020, so the revenue is up 12.71% from the budget.

In the first eight months of the year, the city has collected $13.8 million from its portion of the county sales tax, a 15.02% increase from the $11.998 million collected through August 2020. 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.

Fort Smith’s 1% street tax – used for maintenance and new construction on streets, bridges and drainage – generated $2.23 million in August, an 11.55% increase from the $2 million in August 2020. Again, the budget estimate was what the city made in August last year, so the revenue is 11.55% above the budget estimate. So far for the year, the city has collected $17.304 million from the tax, up 15.85% from the $14.938 million collected in the first eight months of 2020.

“Sales tax collections for August were very strong, again reflecting the strength of the local economy. I am optimistic that current trends will continue for the foreseeable future,” said City Director Lavon Morton.

Fort Smith City Administrator Carl Geffken said though administration is considering raising the sales tax estimates for 2022 for budget purposes, they will need to look at sales tax collected in September first. September sales tax collections will be reported in the October report, which will be released in November.

“September is the first full month after the return to school and to work after the summer and should tax receipts remain above budget, we will be comfortable increasing budgeted revenue,” Geffken said.

In 2020, Fort Smith’s share of the 1% Sebastian County sales tax was $18.246 million, up 5.7% over 2019, and up 5.52% over the city’s budget estimate. The 2020 total was $953,824 more than city officials budgeted to spend within the general fund budget. The tax has posted year-over-year gains for the past five years, but 2020’s jump was the largest seen during that time period.

The 1% street tax generated $22.66 million in 2020, up 4.02% over 2019, and up 6.08% over the budget estimate. The 2020 total was $1.298 million more than city officials budgeted to spend on the street tax program.

PREVIOUS ANNUAL COLLECTION INFO
Fort Smith 1% sales tax collection for streets
2020: $22.66 million
2019: $21.73 million
2018: $21.503 million
2017: $21.204 million
2016: $21.156 million

Fort Smith portion of 1% countywide sales tax
2020: $18.246 million
2019: $17.265 million
2018: $17.043 million
2017: $16.691 million
2016: $16.58 million

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