The first monthly revenues from the 1% increase in Little Rock’s sales tax rate approved last year by voters totaled $3.4 million, the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration said last week.

The higher rate went into effect Jan. 1. The 0.375% portion dedicated to capital improvements generated $1.3 million, and the 0.625% for operations brought in $2.1 million.

City officials said revenue from the capital improvement tax, which will expire in 2022, was slightly below predictions, but collections from the permanent operational tax were almost 1% higher than expected.

Finance director Sara Lenehan attributed the difference in the collection rates to a failure by some businesses to adjust their equipment to account for the 0.375% portion of the tax. The low-reporters will be billed for the missing revenue, she said.

Voters in September approved the increase in the city’s sales rate to 1.5% from 0.5%.

The combined sales tax rate in Little Rock is 8.5%, including the state’s 6% tax and Pulaski County’s 1% tax.— Jim Watts

School Sets a GO Vote

Trustees of Bentonville, Ark., School District No. 6 have set a June 26 election for a $135.7 million general obligation bond package to build a second high school.

Superintendent Michael Poore said the date, more than a month after the last day of class, was the earliest the district can hold the election.

Trustees are slated to approve the millage question on April 16, which must be published for 60 days before the election. After publication, the election can then be approved by the Benton County election commission.

If voters approve the 7.3-mill property tax to support the bonds, the district will have a tax rate of 51 mills. It would be the highest school millage rate in Arkansas, surpassing the 49-mill levy of Miller County’s Fouke School District No. 15.

Bentonville’s debt has an enhanced rating of Aa3 from Moody’s Investors Service with coverage by the state’s school bond program.

Passage of the higher levy would add $146 to the annual tax bill on a $100,000 residence.

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