Northwest Arkansas sales tax revenue growth slows in November

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 977 views 

Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers and Springdale reported a combined $8.013 million in the November sales tax report, a gain of 1.32% on the heels of double-digit growth for most of this year.

The local tax reflects a 1% sales tax each city charges on goods and services rendered in September, creating a two-month lag in the data. Those funds are directed into each cities’ annual operating budget.

While growth slowed in the November report, through the first 11 month reports of this year the four cities have accumulated revenue of $93.791 million, up 12.6% compared with $83.279 million during the same period in 2021.

Each mayor in the respective cities have told Talk Business & Politics they expect slowing revenue toward the end of 2022 and into 2023. They also said their budgets were in sound fiscal shape with two solid years of growth already in the books.

Bentonville was the only city to post a sales tax revenue decline in the November report. The city’s revenue fell to $1.1 million for the month, down 36.88% from the year-ago period and the lowest level for the month since 2018. Mayor Stephanie Orman said sales tax revenue makes up about 50% of the city revenue. Bentonville’s revenue through the November report totaled $20.818 million, up 7.3% from $19.38 million in the same period last year. Orman said the city is happy with the gains this year despite revenue being down from the record 28.2% growth in 2021.

“In terms of 2023, we are constantly reviewing the economic information that is coming out and will take it into consideration as we move forward. We have been fortunate with long-term steady growth in Bentonville in key areas of population, jobs, and development,” Orman said. “Our number one concern right now is the pace of inflation and the impact that it has on the capital infrastructure projects and services that we provide.”

Springdale reported sales tax revenue of $1.987 million, up 19.84% from a year ago and the best results among its peers. Despite the growth, Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse said inflation is taking its toll on consumers and that will likely result in lower revenue next year. Sprouse added the city has ample reserves to weather a slow down. Through the first 11 months of reports, Springdale’s sales tax revenue is up 17% from $17.983 million a year ago, to $21.045 million in 2022. Sprouse said the city expects high single-digit growth in 2023 given the city’s population and retail growth in the past two years.

Rogers reported revenue of $2.255 million, up 8.17% from a year ago. Through the first 11 months of this year’s reports, Rogers has added $24.548 million to its coffers, up from $21.647 million a year ago. The city had revenue offset by rebates of $1.067 million through October of this year. The city has already surpassed its annual sales tax revenue goal of $22.5 million.

Fayetteville reported revenue growth of 10.27% in the November report compared to a year ago. Revenue totaled $2.67 million, compared to $2.421 million reported in November of  last year. Through the first 11 months of 2022, Fayetteville’s sales tax revenue totals $27.383 million, up 10.75% from the $24.723 million reported a year ago. While the city is on track for solid gains this year, growth has not kept up with last year’s total 14.7% annual growth.