Fort Smith’s share of countywide sales tax up more than 11% through October report

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 446 views 

Fort Smith sales tax numbers took a bit of a dive in October, but revenues remain higher than those in 2021. The city’s portion of the Sebastian County sales tax totaled $1.996 million in the October report, up 2.62% compared with October 2021.

October’s report reflects sales tax collections from August. Revenue from the tax was 0.76% higher than the revised budget estimate for the monthly sales tax revenue. During the FY 2023 budget process, the city is also required to update the current budget, City Administrator Carl Geffken said.

“As part of that process, we updated the revenue figures for the last quarter of 2022 to reflect the higher sales tax collections. The revised sales tax revenue estimates will be part of the revisions to the 2022 budget the Board will vote on at the Dec. 2 Board of Directors meeting,” Geffken said.

The budget had originally estimated the sales tax collection to be at $1.801 million for October 2022. That figure was estimated prior to the city receiving information on the actual 2021 numbers.

The countywide sales tax generated roughly $19.584 million through the first 10 months of this year, 11.5% higher than the $17.56 million generated through October 2021. The city’s share of the countywide tax is closely watched 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 $2.455 million in the October distribution, up 4.2% from the $2.357 million reported in October 2021. The total for the month was up 2.26% from the revised budget estimate of $2.4 million. The original budgeted estimate for the month was $2.182 million.

“Even with the increases to the sales tax revenue estimate for October (August’s collections), we still collected 2.26% over budget,” Geffken said.

Through October, the city has collected $23.98 million from the street tax, about 9.8% more than the $21.84 million collected through the first 10 months of 2021.

In 2021, Fort Smith’s share of the 1% Sebastian County sales tax was $21.055 million, 15.4% more than 2020 and up 18.14% over the city’s budget estimate. The 2021 total was $3.23 million more than city officials budgeted to spend within the general fund budget. The tax has posted year-over-year gains over the past several years, but 2021’s jump was the largest seen during recent years.

The 1% street tax generated $26.8 million in 2021, up 18.27% over 2020. The city’s share of the county-wide tax was $21.599 million in 2021, up 18.38% from 2020.

Fort Smith 1% sales tax collection for streets
2021: $26.8 million
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
2021: $21.599 million
2020: $18.246 million
2019: $17.265 million
2018: $17.043 million
2017: $16.691 million
2016: $16.58 million