Bill to modify CAPC passes House, 96-1

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

EUREKA?SPRINGS -- Mayor Dani?Wilson is heartened by the Arkansas House of Representatives' passage of a bill to modify the City and Advertising Promotion Commission, stating that she sees the 96-1 vote as "a positive step."

The bill's creation started in June with the CAPC and Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce to make operations more workable, and while concerns about its operation were being questioned. As a petition for a referendum to abolish the CAPC was circulating, the matter went to the the City Council in October where it was approved.

The referendum vote failed, but at the same time an entirely new city council was elected. The council then voted to pull the bill from consideration, but that action was vetoed by Wilson, who sites misinformation as a principal reason for that action.

Basic changes in the bill consist of the commission's makeup, and expansion of tax collectors to include retail shops which generate more than 50 percent of revenue from tourist trade. (See correction on Page 2.)

With the house passage of the bill, it has gone to the state senate for consideration and is in committee today.

In vetoing the city council's action,?Wilson also cited concerns that such action would ruin the city's credibility with the state. "You don't go pulling it at the last minute," she said. Further, she said, during her campaign she heard strongly from citizens who wanted an at-large position on the commission.

Wilson notes that the law being considered by the senate allows for the city council to designate specific businesses which would be exempt from collecting the CAPC tax, such as medical or construction businesses.

Further, the change from a city government representative to an at-large citizen representation expands the pool of expertise available, she said. There are many people with the experience and education that would be useful, who currently cannot serve due to lack of business involvement or elected office, she said.

If approved by the senate, CAPC?representatives would include two persons from the city, which can include the mayor, one at-large citizen, one restaurant representative, one retail representative, and two lodging representatives.

The bill's language calls for abolishment of the current commission at the time of the effective date of the act. Wilson said that is "legal jargon," and that the city council can reseat most of the current commission immediately, under the new law.

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