Sales tax collections remain strong

Glenn Parrish

When the Booneville City Council met in April the city’s one percent monthly sales tax collection had been received by city officials.

Speculation about what effect the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic would have on the tax going forward found belief in a possible sharp decline to little to no effect or even an increase.

The later proved to be the true answer as the tax took in $68,965.03 an increase of $9,286.04 — 15.6 percent — from the April collection.

Councilman Steve Reid was among those who didn’t expect the proceeds from the tax to take a hit because, he said, citizens were not leaving the city to buy goods and eat out, instead shopping at CVs and Walmart for groceries and picking up takeout at local eateries.

it is likely stimulus checks from the Federal government had an impact as well, as did panic buying of things like toilet paper and cleaning wipes.

The May remission from State Treasurer Dennis Milligan’s office represents taxes collected by vendors in March — the month the first case of the virus was confirmed in Arkansas — and remitted to the Department of Finance and Administration in April.

Besides the sharp increase from the April collection, the May tally is also $4,701.48, or 7.3 percent more than the tax took in in May of 2019.

Including a record month in February — reflective of the December Christmas shopping period — through five months the tax is $28,608.46, or 9.7 percent ahead of a 2019 pace that saw the tax take in more than $700,000 for the first time.

The tax has collected $322,277.26 in 2020.

With the tax set to expire Sept. 30, city officials set an April 14 special election seeking a sixth five-year term for collections but that election was postponed due to the pandemic and reset for next Tuesday, June 9.

However, that election was scrubbed because there were not 60 days between the passage of the ordinance to reset the election and the election date.

When the council met on May 18, another ordinance was passed to set the election date for Aug. 11.