HIGHFILL, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Northwest Arkansas National Airport could not come to an agreement with the city of Highfill, so it is detaching from the city.
Highfill Mayor Chris Holland says because XNA is leaving, it will impact the city, but the city council has already started working to move forward.
“We’ve already started making the budget adjustments to account for the lost revenue. We’re also working on bringing in some commercial development to help with the lost revenue as well,” Holland said.
This move could eventually cost the city of Highfill more than $500,000 a year.
The city currently collects a 2% sales tax from businesses at the airport.
That money largely goes to pay off water and sewer bonds.
With this detachment, the city will stop getting that sales tax revenue once the water and sewer bonds are paid off.
While some people think the airport will pocket that extra 2%, XNA General Counsel Brian Burke says this is a misconception.
“Once the detachment happens, XNA is suddenly going to be receiving the 2% sales tax money that Highfill presently receives on all the transactions that take place at the airport. That is incorrect. XNA does not have the present ability to levy a sales tax,” he said.
Burke says he thinks this detachment allows the airport to better serve more than just one town.
“The purpose of this airport was to serve the entire region, and this detachment process sort of reclaims that vision going forward. And we look forward to doing that.” he said
Holland says the city has plans to improve the community and while the loss of tax revenue from XNA would be a setback, the city council is still optimistic those improvements will eventually happen.
“Our ultimate goal is to not have any dirt roads in the city. You know, we started working towards that, so it just may take a few more years on that part of it,” he said.
Burke anticipates having the detachment petition filed by the end of the year.