CAPC approves 2020 budget
By Samantha Jones
The Eureka Springs City Advertising and Promotion Commission approved its 2020 budget on Wednesday, Nov. 13.
City events coordinator Tracy Johnson said she just finished working on the Folk Festival, calling it the “busiest weekend of the year.” Finance director Rick Bright said the festival brought in between $18,000 and $20,000. Commissioner Susan Harman suggested moving that amount to an account for special events and Bright said the commission can always amend the budget as the year goes on. Any money left over at the end of the year will go to reserves, Bright said, and can be used for special events if needed.
The commission voted unanimously to approve the budget and moved on to cancel workshops in November and December. Those workshops coincide with the holidays, said chairwoman Carol Wright.
In other business, the commission heard from Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce representatives Damon Henke and Lori Blood regarding the chamber’s visitor guide. Henke said the commission has historically paid a portion of the postage for the guide, which has become the response piece when prospective tourists reach out to the city. Henke said the commission is now working with another publication.
“It was suggested that the solution would be to fill out a funding support request form,” Henke said.
According to the commission’s 2019 budget, the commission allocated $28,000 for the chamber guide postage. Henke said he was asking for $9,500 in advertising support funds this year.
“It was news to me that you were shifting over to the Fun Guide as a support piece,” Henke said. “I want to make sure we get on the same page to support the visitor guide in the future.”
Lori Blood also spoke on behalf of the chamber, saying many small businesses spent their 2020 advertising dollars in the chamber guide expecting it to be the city’s response piece to tourists.
“Now if you’re going to change that this late in the game for 2020, we’ve already committed to our advertising,” Blood said. “Now we’ll be committing to paying additional money each month for an additional response piece? I think a lot of small businesses in this town will struggle with that, especially since this is the first time I’ve heard of it.”
Also at the meeting, Bright presented the financial report, saying the cash balance as of Oct. 31 was $681,814.04. He listed tax collections remitted in October, from September collections. He said restaurants brought in $78,654 down $2,229 (3.5 percent). Total lodging collections were $77,144, down $2,808 (3.5 percent). These lodging collections include: $15,539 for hotels, up $389 (2.6 percent); $40,024 for motels, down $1,856 (4.4 percent); $6,064 for B&Bs, down $766 (11.2 percent); and $15,517 for cabins and cottages, down $575 (3.6 percent). Bright said the year-to-date lodging collections compared with 2018 are down $5,007 (0.9 percent) and the year-to-date restaurant collections compared with 2018 are up $30,558 (5.1 percent). The year-to-date total collections, he said, are up $25,550 (2.2 percent).
During commissioner comments, Debbie Reay announced she is resigning from the commission because of health issues. Reay encouraged those interested to apply for her position.
The commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, at The Auditorium.