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Farmington's local sales tax revenues remain up for 2021

by LYNN KUTTER NWA DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE | September 20, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

FARMINGTON -- Year to date, revenue from Farmington's local and state sales tax rates continues to be up, compared to the same period in 2020.

Farmington Mayor Penn said most regional news outlets concentrate on how revenue is up for the four big cities in Washington and Benton counties.

The smaller cities also are collecting more revenue from local taxes, and in some cases, the percentages are higher for the smaller cities, Penn told Farmington City Council members Sept. 13 during their meeting.

For August, Farmington received $207,266 from its local sales tax rate for the general fund, compared to $174,923 in August 2020, an 18.5% increase. This is tax collected from sales in June.

Year to date for the general fund, Farmington has collected $341,524 more from sales tax rates than for the same period, January-August in 2020, a 29.2% increase.

For revenue from the state sales tax collections, Farmington received $130,850 for its August distribution, compared to $121,519 for August 2020, an increase of 7.7%. Up to date, Farmington's revenue is up 14.5% for state tax collections, compared to the same period in 2020.

Farmington's local and state tax collections for January-August are about $469,000 above what was collected for the same period in 2020.

Penn said the city will soon begin its budget process and will use the same policy as usual, be conservative in projecting revenue and conservative with expenses.

In other action Monday, the council adopted two ordinances that deal with unsightly and unsanitary premises and the condemnation and removal of buildings that are considered a nuisance.

The council has considered each ordinance for three separate meetings, starting in July, to give the public time to comment on the proposals.

Both ordinances will go into effect immediately, according to City Attorney Steve Tennant.

One ordinance requires premises to be kept free from weeds, rank grass, garbage, rubbish, and other unsightly and unsanitary articles. It also requires property owners to eliminate, full up or remove stagnant pools of water that may become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, flies and germs harmful to the health of the community.

A person found guilty of violating the ordinance would receive a fine up to $1,000 for the first offense and increasing fines for subsequent offenses.

The city will give seven days' notice to a property owner found in violation of the ordinance. If the owner does not take care of the property, the city has the authority to go onsite and cut and remove weeds, rank grass or unsightly and unsanitary conditions and the cost will be charged against the premises as a lien on the property.

For the second ordinance, a property owner has 30 days to abate a house or structure that has been declared a nuisance by the Farmington City Council. After the 30 days, the city would impose a fine of not less than $250 or more than $1,000 against the owner of the structure. Each day afterward that the nuisance is not abated is considered a continuing offense punishable by a fine up to $500 per day.

If the council decides Washington County Circuit Court has jurisdiction, the ordinance gives the council the authority to employ an attorney to bring action against the owner of the building. If the court declares the structure a nuisance the city can impose a fine up to $1,000 and a fine up to $500 per day if the nuisance is not abated and continues.

A resolution that declares a structure a nuisance has to provide the reasons it has been condemned as a nuisance. The ordinance gives the city authority to demolish and/or remove a structure declared a nuisance if the owner does not abate the property. If the city has any net costs in removing a house or structure, then it would place a lien on the property.

City Council member Keith Lipford voted against the ordinance that gives the city the authority to declare a house a "nuisance" and then condemn it.

In a text on Tuesday, Lipford wrote: "The city should not have the power to condemn and remove someone's personal property with no other justification than the city council deemed it a 'nuisance.' What one man calls a nuisance, another may call home."

The council also approved an ordinance to waive the requirements of competitive bidding to award a contract to Sisemore Paving for $29,700 to pave Richmond Road.

The city advertised for bids and received only one bid in June for more than $70,000. The engineer's estimated cost for the project was $35,000-$30,000, so the city rejected that bid.

Penn said the city has continued to keep in contact with some contractors but most are behind in their work. Finally, he said Sisemore indicated it had a window where it could fit in the Farmington project.

Floyd Shelley, public works manager, said Sisemore's price is well within the range from the engineer. Sisemore worked for the city in the past and did excellent work, Shelley said in recommending the contract.

When this gravel road is paved, the city will only have one unpaved street left within the city limits, and the two residents on the last road have said they do not want a paved street, but prefer a country road, Shelley told council members.

In addition, the council accepted a low bid of almost $55,000 for drainage improvements on Rainsong Street from NEC. The street has experienced a drainage that could affect current drainage pipes in the ground and under the street and also could affect sidewalks and the street if it is not repaired immediately, according to a memo from Shelley to the City Council.

Fire Chief Bill Hellard recognized three firefighters who have completed their probationary fire training: John Jones, Rudy Ayala and Dalton Frazier.

Lynn Kutter can be reached by email at lkutter@nwadg.com.

Print Headline: Farmington sales tax revenues remain up for 2021

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