Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview

Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview
Overview of Fayetteville, AR

Friday, April 22, 2011

Taxes – A Fact of Life in NW Arkansas as Elsewhere

Just as the deadline for filing income taxes passed, counties started mailing out property tax bills for real estate and personal property. Individuals as well as businesses are subject to property tax.

There are a few changes this year – designed to make paying taxes a bit easier. The deadline has been October 10th for several years. The state legislature decided that changing the deadline to October 15th would help people remember it better. We all have April 15th imprinted on our brains so I guess now we can add another permanent mark there for October 15th.

The other change allows owners to pay their taxes in installments. People can pay any or all tax due at any time between the first business day in March and October 15th. There is no limit to the number of payments that can be made. This is helpful for people who would rather pay as they go, perhaps monthly, than to be hit with the whole amount due at one time.

Arkansas has a couple of quirks in its tax code and these sometimes cause problems for new residents and even some large businesses with home offices elsewhere.

For example, property owners must call or visit the appropriate county assessor each year between January 2 and May 31. At that time, they “assess” their property – meaning to make it known to the assessor that they own or lease items subject to tax. A wide range of items is considered taxable – cars, trucks, boats, office equipment and furniture, warehouse and manufacturing equipment, and most everything else a business uses. Individuals will soon discover they cannot register their car until it has been assessed.

But there are also quirks that prove highly beneficial to property owners who own the house they live in. Owner/occupiers receive a credit each year of up to the first $350 of property tax.

The other big benefit freezes appraised values of residences where at least one owner is either disabled or over age of 65. Completion of a simple form through the assessor’s office is all that’s required. The freeze results in a property tax that cannot increase due to a higher assessed valuation. The tax can increase only if improvements are made to the property or the millage rate increases.

Disabled veterans can sometimes qualify for no property tax on their residence. This depends on the degree of disability as certified by the Veterans Administration.

And, one more date to remember. July is the usual time of year that people can file protests to their tax bills. Just check with the appropriate county assessor to find out the procedure.

Monday, April 18, 2011

NW Arkansas’ Unemployment Rate Going Down--Again

I’ve been hearing lately that unemployment figures are going down in NW Arkansas and the country as a whole. Nationwide, the rate for February 2011 was 9.5%.

Northwest Arkansas has had the good fortune all along to have considerably lower unemployment rates and it’s good to know that trend is continuing. Our rate for February 2011 was 6.7%.

The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, breaks unemployment rates into 372 Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Our MSA, which includes Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, and Bentonville, is ranked #43 out of the 372 areas. This is concrete proof that the economy in NW Arkansas is far better than the majority of the country.

Companies are hiring, especially in construction/trade, transportation and utilities sectors. Service sectors, i.e., professional, business, leisure, and hospitality services, also have shrinking unemployment rates. Government services is another area showing recovery.

Rising employment is exactly what’s needed to get the housing market moving again. People will soon rediscover the many good points about living in NW Arkansas.

Perhaps you have family and friends who would appreciate knowing what’s happening here.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Fayetteville Square Has Free Wi-Fi Access for the First Day of Farmer’s Market

Today’s the day. Free Wi-Fi Internet access for Fayetteville Square. Cox Communications volunteered to install the transmitters necessary for the interconnected network. Plans were to have everything ready to coincide with the first day of Farmer’s Market today, Saturday, April 2.

I think this is terrific. Many other cities now have publicly sponsored hot spots. It’s nice to think of our quaint downtown Fayetteville Square keeping up with the technology that so many people rely on these days. It wasn’t too many years ago when something like this would have been laughed at as science fiction. Now Fayetteville can offer speedy connections to everyone: vacationers, students, and business people alike.

Just adds to the quality of life in Fayetteville.