CAPC director Berry resigns

Friday, February 9, 2007

EUREKA SPRINGS -- City Advertising and Promotion Commission Executive Director Lynn Berry announced that she was giving notice of her resignation effective Feb. 21 during a four-hour series of meetings Wednesday afternoon.

She gave no reasons for her resignation during the meetings, and commissioners expressed regret about her decision with Chairman Bryan Sumpter stating, "Well, I'm depressed."

Berry stated Thursday morning that she would have a statement about her plans on Feb. 22.

A workshop to address qualifications and procedures for finding a replacement for Berry was scheduled for 1 p.m. Feb. 20.

Having missed two meetings due to weather, the commission conducted a one-hour workshop and a three-hour regular meeting, adjourning at 5 p.m..

Revamping Auditorium fees were addressed during the workshop, with no final decision. Promoter Steve Schell requested a signed contract for a March 21-24 show which had been originally planned for one night in January but was postponed due to weather and, in the meantime, developed into a four-day event.

His request came during discussion of new rates to better cover the deficit of the CAPC in operating the facility, and including new rates for the recently developed Gem, located in the lower level of the building and capable of accommodating smaller audiences without heating or cooling the entire building.

An oral agreement regarding rates for Schell's production had been reached prior to the commission' decision to review Auditorium rates, and Commissioner Kathy Harrison moved to honor that agreement.

Considerable discussion ensued in which commissioners agreed that contracts should be written by the CAPC, and that fees being charged were not enough to cover expenses.

Berry and Festival Director Sally Thackery produced a handout showing the capacity, basic rates, box office fees and merchandise cuts of smaller facilities in the United States, ranging from Nampa, Idaho, to West Palm Beach, Fla.

Capacity of those facilities ranged from 640 to 1,400, with Eureka's being 984. Basic rates ranged from $400 at The Grand in San Francisco to $7,000 plus a surcharge in Irvine, Calif., with the Auditorium at $620 for up to four hours plus $120 for each additional hour.

Box office take ranged from none to $3.50 per ticket sold, or an $800 fee plus $1 per ticket sold. The Auditorium charge is $50 for set-up plus 50 cents per ticket. Similarly, the merchandise cut ranged from none, to as much as 40 percent of sales, with Eureka Springs charging 10 percent.

No action was taken on Schell's offer to be part of a process in determining Auditorium rates, though commissioner appeared to like the idea of someone with such experience being involved in setting policy and clearing up misunderstandings.

Long-delayed approval was given to several events for marketing support funds. The so-called seed money for the second half of 2007 is to be addressed in April.

With $30,000 budgeted for marketing support, or seed money, commissioners played it close, approving a total of $15,250.

Approved on Wednesday were $1,500 for Fire On the Mountain Christian Motorcycle Rally May 25-28; $1,00l for Eureka Art Cars May 4-6; $1,250 for Second Saturday Gallery Stroll, March through December; $2,000 for Eureka Springs Off-road Triathlon on June 6; $7,000 for Eureka Springs Artists' Registry Nov. 23-25; $1,000 for Books in Bloom; and $1,500 for Artist's Eye View Studio Tour in September;

Funding requests were not granted for Lucky 13 Starlight Cinema, due to possible conflicts regarding a city council member receiving funding from a city tax-supported entity, and Eureka Gras, due to lack of time to do any advertising, largely because of CAPC delays in December and January.

It was also decided not to fund, for the time being, certain events that have proven to be money-makers, including the Victorian Classic and Carroll County Cruisers car shows.

With two new commissioners on board, council member Joyce Zeller and Mayor Dani Wilson, the commission re-elected Sumpter, whose term expires at mid-year, to serve as chairman. Zeller was elected secretary, and Commissioner K.J. Zumwaldt was elected treasurer.

After some discussion, the commission agreed to hold regular meetings on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 5 p.m.. Along with the Feb. 20 workshop, the commission will have a workshop meeting on Feb. 21 at 1 p.m. to continue ironing out the Auditorium fee structure.

Ad hoc committees are chaired by each commissioner, with Zeller heading a committee to investigate new methods of marketing. Due to her early departure, Wilson was not assigned a committee.

Consideration of hiring a clipping service went no where, and discussion about allocation of $250 to freelance writers for placement of 750-word stories was postponed pending more information.

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