A&P Commission Recap: May 2011

Staff photo
Officials from the University of Arkansas and the Walton Arts Center on Monday spoke in favor of a city bond extension to help fund an expansion of the arts center’s facilities in Fayetteville.

The Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission held its fifth meeting of 2011 at 2 p.m. Monday inside the Town Center on the downtown square.

Below is a roundup of highlights from the group’s monthly meeting for May 2011.

Roll Call

Present: Bob Davis, Marilyn Heifner, Lioneld Jordan, Brandon Karn, Bill Lyle, Hannah Mills, Maudie Schmitt, Justin Tennant
Absent: None

Monthly HMR collections flat

HMR tax collections were nearly even over the same month last year. Total collections reported in April 2011 were $187,976, a $246 increase over April 2010.

Overall 2011 collections are now at $694,651, a 3.52% increase on the year.

Visitors Center sales up

Sales in the Visitors Center saw another increase over the same month last year.

Total sales for the month were $5,220.72, a 141% increase over April 2010.

Visits to the center were also up for the month with 1,301 total visitors, a 44.4% increase over April 2010.

Bond extension recommendation delayed until June

Despite pleas for support from some notable guests at this month’s meeting, Mayor Lioneld Jordan‘s proposal to recommend an A&P bond extension to help fund an expansion of Walton Arts Center facilities was delayed another month at the request of several commissioners.

University of Arkansas Chancellor David Gearhart and Walton Arts Center CEO Peter Lane both spoke in favor of the mayor’s plan, which, if approved by voters, would create a funding partnership between the city and the university to help build a 600-seat theater on or near the arts center’s current campus in Fayetteville. A unified partnership, they said, would signify a community commitment which could spark major donor support to help complete the arts center’s expansion needs.

Those against making an immediate recommendation said they still feel like they need more information and more time to evaluate the proposal.

“As stewards of the A&P money, as much information as we can have to make an informed decision is what is needed,” said commission chair Maudie Schmitt. “I think we’re all pretty much on board, but we have people we have to answer to.”

Schmitt and commissioner Bob Davis said they want to see a “business plan” which includes revenue projections for the proposed 600-seat theater before before they can make a recommendation to the City Council.

Mayor Jordan said he’d compile as much of the requested information as possible by the commission’s next meeting.

For Lane’s part, he said his group would submit an overall analysis of the kind of economic impact a 600-seat theater would have on the city based on some assumptions from the arts center’s most recent feasibility study.

“We’ll put something together I think that would pass the logic test,” said Lane.

Justin Tennant was the only commissioner (besides Mayor Jordan) who expressed interest in immediately moving the issue forward to the City Council.

Event funding discussion set for June

As agreed upon last month, the commission will award April event requests at its June 13 meeting beginning at 12 p.m.

Full agenda packet

About the A&P Commission

The Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission determines the use of the city’s advertising and promotion funds. The funds come from the 2% tax on purchases made at Fayetteville’s hotels, motels and restaurants (HMR).

State law requires the A&P Commission to be made up of four hotel, motel or restaurant owners/managers, two City Council members, and one member from the public at-large.

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