BY MELANIE BUCK –
Sales tax revenue in both the city of Mena and Polk County rose slightly during 2014 bringing much needed funding into a tight budget. While the increase wasn’t much, it matches a growing trend nation wide, and with gas prices falling sharply and employment at its highest rate since 1999, forecasters are predicting the economy to continue on its upward path.
Sales tax comparisons from 2013-2014 for Polk County show an increase of $9,895.82 bringing 2014’s revenue to total $1,419,451.76. The county’s road improvement tax also showed an increase bringing in $8,744.62 more than 2013. Each tax, sales and road improvement, are 1 percent each of the 9.5 percent sales tax you pay when buying your goods.
Mena’s numbers are only available through October 2014 but show to be on track with the county, indicating a slight increase of 1 percent in sales and use tax revenue bringing in $1,281,517.49. Mena also gets 1 percent of sales tax paid when purchasing items in town.
There are many needs and uses for these taxes. Mena’s sales and use tax is for the operation of city government, street improvement, and special projects. Polk County’s sales taxes are placed in their general fund for use in many areas of county government including funding for county fire departments.