101 Town Center, P.O. Box 5655, Bella Vista, AR 72714 (479)876-1255

Council sets millage; no change for 2020

Mayor Peter Christie on Tuesday asked the City Council in a special meeting to keep the city’s millage rate the same going into 2020, which means no increase for Bella Vista residents on their property taxes.

The current millage rate is a total of 5.5. This includes 4 mills set by City Council and 1.5 mills approved by voters in 2014 to fund police and fire pensions. The 4 mills are part of the total of 5 to which, by state statute, the council members are allowed to increase without a vote of the population.

A mill is an annual property tax levied on the assessed value of real property. The assessed value is typically one-fifth of the appraised market value. One mill is one-tenth of a cent.

Say you live in a $200,000 home. If your home has an assessed value of $40,000, you would pay $40 per one mill per year. Your total city property tax for the year would be $220. It is estimated one mill brings in about $500,000 in revenue for Bella Vista.

The city also collects turnback revenue – a percentage the city gets from property tax collected by the county. Currently, this percentage is based on the 2010 census population, which puts Bella Vista at a population of about 26,000. The city is closer to an actual population of 30,000, but those numbers won’t be reflected in the county’s funds, and thus the city’s revenue, until after the 2020 census.

Christie said he has high hopes for an increase in the city’s sales tax revenue for 2020, based on the state’s new collection of internet sales tax that began in July. The city did not receive these numbers from the state until Sept. 26, and Christie was waiting on these to determine budget changes.

Each October, the city must decide what millage rate will be submitted to Benton County by a date specified by the county. This is the reason for the special meeting to set the millage this year, as the sales tax numbers were not yet available, but the October regular meeting on Oct. 21 would be past the county’s due date.

The county rates are then finalized, and the millage rates are levied on the taxes collected for the previous year. So, when the millage rate is finalized at the end of 2019, that rate will be applied to 2019’s taxes collected in 2020.