Because Booneville is remitted sales tax collections in the second month after collection, February remittances reflect December collections and is generally one of the better months of the year.
But even city officials were pleasantly surprised by the remittance check last week as the city collected $50,509.53.
"This is one of our better months because we take in Christmas shopping but we’re up $6,000, (from 2013)," said Booneville Mayor Jerry Wilkins.
Wilkins said he believes the numbers show his community has stabilized even before an expected Walmart Supercenter breaks ground.
"Most of our houses or rentals are full, of course there are a few houses for sale, but I think our economy is doing pretty good," said Wilkins.
Booneville’s good news came in the same week that city of Fort Smith officials expressed concern over tax collections from the Christmas month that were below the same month in 2012 and were essentially flat with 2011 collections.
Other than last August, when an unexplained amount of $53,494.28 was received from the tax, the tax topped $50,000 for the first time since 2011. Otherwise, the highest collection in any month since January of 2012 was $45,680.33 in August of 2012.
Wilkins said the collection is also a tribute to Booneville’s steadfastness.
"Probably no mayor has lived through more than I did when we lost those 860-something jobs in one afternoon," Wilkins said referencing the 2008 Easter Sunday fire at Cargill. "If there’s any town that had an excuse to just give up, roll up the sidewalks and just shut down, we probably had as good of an excuse as you can get.
"These people just kept on grinding and I think we’re starting to see the end of the tunnel."
February’s collection reflected an increase of 13.9 percent over January proceeds, which were collected in November, and a 19.8 percent hike from February of 2013.
The two-month year to date collection of $92,909.85 is also up 14.9 percent over the first two months and 15.6 percent better than the first two months of 2012.
In 2013 the tax took in just over $514,000.
One of the two one percent taxes collected in Booneville is distributed to 10 city entities through a formula approved by city voters when the tax was renewed for a fourth five-year term in 2010.
Through that distribution 24 percent goes into a city improvement account; 20 percent to the street department, 12 percent to the police department, 10 percent each to the fire department and parks commission, 8 percent to the Area Agency on Aging/Booneville Sr. Citizens Center, 7 percent to the airport commission, 4 percent to the Booneville Development Corporation/South Logan County Chamber of Commerce, 3 percent to Oak Hill Cemetery and 2 percent to the Booneville Library.
A second one percent tax that is dedicated to the operation of Booneville Community Hospital. However, as stipulated in the ballot initiative, one quarter of the tax is withheld for construction projects so the hospital’s operational share of its December tax was $37,882.15, from which is deducted a loan payment at First Western Bank.
Starting with the January proceeds the balance of that tax goes to Mercy Hospital, which assumed operation of the hospital on Jan. 1.