Sales tax revenue up almost 12% in four largest Northwest Arkansas cities

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 831 views 

Sales tax revenue in the January report for the four largest cities in Northwest Arkansas totaled $7.854 million, up 11.69% from the year-ago period and up 35% from the pre-pandemic period of January 2019. Bentonville was the only city among the four to post a revenue decline.

January sales tax revenue related to consumer purchases on goods and services in November 2021. Fayetteville, Bentonville, Rogers and Springdale each collect local sales and this report reflects the 1% tax that goes toward their respective annual budgets.

Fayetteville revenue grew 19.97% in the January report with revenue totaling $2.472 million, the best January report on record. Revenue was up 27% when compared to January 2020 and 32% greater than in the pre-pandemic month of January 2019. Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan said Tuesday at this State of the City Address that the city, region and nation continue to face challenges that are truly unique.

“In times like these, the future feels very uncertain,” he said. “The city will continue to meet the needs of our residents without interruption, no matter what circumstances we face.”

Jordan said he is pleased with the revenue growth over 2021 and he’s excited about the continued progress on The Ramble, the city’s cultural arts corridor which will begin to see programming later this spring.

“Funded by the 2019 bond issue, The Ramble creates a new destination that will attract visitors and businesses to the city, add to our sales tax revenue and support the vitality and safety of our downtown and entertainment districts,” Jordan said.

Springdale reported $1.755 million in sales tax revenue, $400,000 more than what was reported in January 2020 and up 40.5% over January 2019.

“We have a stable retail sector that serves us well with consumables that people need all the time and we are not subject to the ups and downs like those cities that offer broader retail and more discretionary spending,” said Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse.

Sprouse said the city remains in sound fiscal shape with extraordinary growth in the past few years.

“We pushed the budget a little further at around 6% gains for sales tax revenue in 2022, which is still conservative and below the gains we have had in the past three years,” Sprouse told Talk Business & Politics.

The Rogers sales tax revenue jumped 22.64% in the January report to $2.154 million. This was a stark difference from the 1.44% deficit the city reported between January 2020 and January 2021. This was also the first $2 million January report the city has had. Rogers budgeted for 13% growth in sales tax this year. This bold budget was made as the city held revenue projections steady last year at $19.9 million, the same as in 2020.

Bentonville sales tax revenue was $1.472 million, down 15.87% from the year-ago period. The decline did not worry city officials as it was being compared to a 49.16% gain a year ago. Tax revenue reported this month was 32% higher than the same month in 2019, and 25% higher than in January 2020.

Bentonville Mayor Stephanie Orman said the city sees variation in its sales tax revenue in part because of rebates relating to the city’s largest employer and other big projects. With a continued growth in residential housing, the city also has seen its sales tax revenue grow from more online sales amid the pandemic.