Reserve funds help Fayetteville absorb sales tax losses


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — University of Arkansas economists estimated the four major Northwest Arkansas cities will lose more than $200 million in revenues as COVID-19 keeps businesses restricted. Fayetteville is set up to weather the losses because of prior planning, according to the city’s chamber of commerce president.

Steve Clark said the city will certainly take a hit this year, but a notable 2009 ice storm forced Mayor Lioneld Jordan to set up reserves. For several days during that time, all businesses were shuttered because people weren’t able to drive. Those reserve funds will keep city services afloat for months even during this pandemic, Clark said.

The relatively-new online sales tax is also bringing in money that can supplement some of the losses, Clark said, and there are not plans to stop major developments or cut any city services.

“We’re not losing any essential services,” Clark said. “We’re not having to lay off first responders. We’re not having to use used equipment longer than its life cycle.”

The city may do a couple things differently to save some cash, Clark said, like pave fewer roads and avoid opening a couple new parks.

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