CAPC gives OK to 2018 budget

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Eureka Springs City Advertising and Promotion Commission is ready to take on 2018.

On Wednesday, Dec. 13, the commission focused on its 2018 budget. Chairwoman Susan Harman said the budget looked good but was missing $10,000 for the Christmas festival and $10,000 for entertainment during May Festival of the Arts. Harman said she’s not sure about spending $25,000 on May Festival of the Arts, saying that would be in addition to the $10,000 for entertainment.

“I don’t know if we’ve come to a consensus as far as how we want to write that out,” Harman said. “I think we had agreed on all the other special events, but that one was in question.”

Director Mike Maloney said the $25,000 would not be spent on promotion.

“The money for MFA basically goes to the art community to create art,” Maloney said. “Of course, art’s in a variety of formats, from theater to music to printed materials. Last year, we did it with $15,000.”

He continued, “I think we barely got by. I think we really squeaked by with that amount of money, and I think the $25,000 this year would open the door to additional participation and help the overall program be more dynamic. I think we really owe the festival as much opportunity as we can to drive traffic to Eureka Springs for this production.”

With the additional $10,000 for entertainment, Harman said, that would put the expenses for May Festival of the Arts at $35,000. Commissioner Carol Wright said that makes sense considering how long the festival is.

“It’s a month-long event, right?” Wright said. “I think we have to consider how many weekends and how many days it’ll happen.”

Harman asked events coordinator Andy Green if the extra $10,000 would be used throughout the month, and Green said it would.

“I don’t plan to use it all in the first week,” Green said.

Commissioner Terry McClung said $35,000 is a lot of money to spend on one festival, saying he hopes more funds would mean more visitors during the week.

“The only way I’m willing in my mind to put $35,000 into that festival is if they’re making a concerted effort to fill rooms at midweek,” McClung said.

Maloney said many of the events featured during the festival encourage midweek visitors, such as the Plein Air Festival.

“The plain air artists are painting all week long,” Maloney said. “I think the intent really is to go ahead and foster the middle of the week business. It’s always our goal to boost that … business.”

Harman asked if the budget could stipulate that a certain percentage of the funds be spent on midweek events, and Maloney said he could do that.

The commission moved on to other budget items, with commissioner David Mitchell saying Green is a contracted employee whose wages appear on the salaries and wages line item.

“For me, salary and wages means a budgeted employee that’s on the salary and gets benefits and you keep up with it,” Mitchell said. “I never saw a contract person’s contract under salary and wages. It seems it should be pulled out of salaries and wages.”

Finance director Rick Bright said that would be easy to do.

“We can do a different line item for events coordinator,” Bright said. “The reason that was set up is previously they were just an hourly employee, or salary employee, that did events.”

Commissioner Dusty Duling moved to approve the budget with the addition of $10,000 for the Christmas festival and $10,000 for May Festival of the Arts entertainment, along with Green’s wages becoming a different line item. The commission voted unanimously to approve the budget.

Also at the meeting, the commission saw several videos from videographers throughout Northwest Arkansas. Maloney said he asked the videographers for examples of their work to determine who to work with in 2018.

“I submitted to six different people and these five submitted,” Maloney said. “They’ve all got pretty good work.”

Duling said he liked Eureka Springs resident Edward Robison’s work the best.

“I think it’s plain to see Edward has the flavor of Eureka Springs and the creativity we want to set ourselves apart,” Duling said. “He can tell a story that’s intangible [about] the thing we have here better than the others.”

Maloney agreed.

“The one thing I really like about Edward’s work is he tells stories,” Maloney said.

Mitchell said he liked all the videos.

“Because I didn’t objectively see anything lean one way or another, I’d be more inclined because the quality is there to stick with a local person,” Mitchell said.

Duling moved to award the contract to Robison, and the commission agreed.

The commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 10, at The Auditorium.

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