CAPC reports growth, despite economic woes

Friday, March 6, 2009

EUREKA SPRINGS -- Despite the economic tailspin currently driving the country into the ground, the City Advertising and Promotion Commission (CAPC) continues to hang on in the black.

According to CAPC Director of Operations Sheila Hulsey in her financial report on December tax revenue collected in the month of January, the CAPC ended with a bank balance of $327,000 and collections were at $57,600, or 15.3 percent over projected collections, and 28.3 percent over the same time period in 2008.

She said lodging was up 42.3 percent and restaurants 15.7 percent over 2008.

Hulsey said December was a particularly bad month and pointed to delinquent monies just now coming in as evidence -- $6,200 from restaurants and $7,500 from lodging.

Commissioner Alvin Byrd said the numbers were "a great start off for 2009. Hopefully we can keep that up."

Commissioner James DeVito mentioned having read that tourism is down more than 8 percent in the region.

"I assume for the first six months (of this year) we're going to see a lot of that," said CAPC Executive Director Jim Williams, "but I'm not an economist."

DeVito asked about the status of several particularly egregious delinquent accounts.

Hulsey said all overdue accounts are either being negotiated or, if they are over three or four months overdue, prosecuted.

"We've met with (City Attorney) Tim Weaver," said Williams, "and one (case) is going to trial, and they authorized a settlement (in another)."

The commission amended the 2008 budget to the actual monies spent, as required by law.

"The total revenue must be amended to the actual," said Commissioner Richard Grinnell, "to appease the auditors." Grinnell said.

"This doesn't mean our old budget 'went away,'" said Hulsey, "but they want to know on record what came in and what was spent."

Commissioners voted unanimously to put forward two candidates to fill empty restaurant positions on the CAPC, Bobbie Foster and Lynn Bridwell.

Foster is owner of Mud Street Cafe and Bridwell owns the Grand Central Hotel and the Grand Taverne.

"I know them both from the restaurant industry," said DeVito, who owns DeVito's Restaurant but is on the commission as the city council representative, "and we're lucky to get two candidates like this. I think they would be a welcome addition to the CAPC."

Grinnell will present both names to the City Council at its next meeting.

The next CAPC meeting is March 11.

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