Spending in Baxter County and the City of Mountain Home continues an upward trend as reflected in the December sales tax numbers recently released by the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. The new tax rates have also been announced for 2018 and 2019.
In Baxter County, the numbers released for December, which reflect sales tax collected in October, show an 8.3 percent increase compared to last year, according to Baxter County Treasurer Jenay Mize.
Mize says although that equates to a 4.5 percent decrease, she's happy that number wasn't higher due to a deficit the county incurred for the month of November. Baxter County officials were notified they had to refund $539,000 to an undisclosed business that had inadvertently paid the wrong amount.
Sales tax numbers for the City of Mountain Home were unavailable at the time of this report as the city transitions toward securing a newly appointed treasurer.
The county sales tax is divided among the county and the eight municipalities, with Mountain Home leading the way with $168,161, Gassville collected $28,072, while Cotter picked up $13,104. Lakeview took in $10,010. Norfork received $6,903. Salesville collected $6,079. The City of Briarcliff netted $3,188 and Big Flat received $1,405.
Mize has figured the new tax rates for 2018 and 2019. Currently there is a 6.5 percent state tax, 1 percent city tax and a 1 percent county tax, totaling 8.5 percent. In January 2018, the state rate will remain at 6.5 percent and the city will increase to 1.375 percent. The 1 percent for the county will remain in place, bringing the total to 8.875 percent.
Beginning April, 2018 through September 30th, 2018 a 1 percent increase will kick in for the county. The state will remain at 6.5 percent, the city will remain at 1.375 percent and the county will be 2 percent. The total rate will be 9.875 percent. In October of 2018 the tax will drop back to the January rate of 8.875 percent.
In 2019 the rate will change again. The state rate will remain at 6.5 percent and the city will remain at 1.375 percent. The county will decrease to 1.25 percent, bringing the total to 9.125 percent.
The fluctuation in rates come about after voters in Mountain Home passed a 3/8 percent sales and use tax to benefit the city's fire and police departments. In addition, voters countywide approved levying a one cent sales and use tax for eight months to expand the Baxter County Detention Center, as well as furnish and equip the new portion, and provide for the operation and maintenance of the jail.
A countywide one-quarter cent sales tax was also approved following the expiration of the one cent sales and use tax. The one-quarter cent tax would be ongoing.
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