West Memphis A&P enjoying sustained revenue bump in 2015

Commission earmarks funds for ‘Eco-Park’

By John Rech news@theeveningtimes.com

The West Memphis tourism tax revenues have been on a roller-coaster ride from month-to-month this year. Tax collections were the first money matter considered by commisioners at the monthly A&P Commission meeting, specifically how best to properly spend some of those tax dollars on the new Eco-Park and other projects. A steep incline in August, collections of the Advertising and Promotion Tax from diners and hotel patrons in West Memphis during September brought a more modest bump. The peak double-digit increase during the last weeks of summer drove revenues to eclipsed the revenues for the same period last year. When the September ride coasted to the end of the line, the A&P realized an income of $125,049 ahead of last year’s monthly total $120,333. The $4,715 bump also reflected a 3.92 percent in month-to-month gain. Six of the nine months year-to-date have brought in more hamburger tax revenue to the Wonder City, with January, April and May providing the only let downs so far in 2015. The A&P collection is up $30,381 dollars over last year which translates to a 2.87 percent increase heading into the fourth quarter. The annual projection for the Advertising and Promotion collection budget was set at $1.38 million dollars for 2015, and the city has already outpaced that expectation by $54,749. After City Treasurer Frank Martin reported the collections results at the October A&P Commission meeting the Commissioners shifted the money discussion to Eco-Park funding. They agreed that any 2015 payments for the park would need to be legitimized by a resolution at City Council, with a line item for the Eco-Park established going forward in the 2016 budget. Expected spending on the projected is $250,000. “It is a pretty sizable amount of money,” said City Councilwoman Ramona Taylor. “If there is a draw this year, then a resolution will need to go before city council,” said Commissioner Troy Keeping. “If there is not a draw this year we can put it into the budget for council to approve for next year. The city treasurer underlined the conversation and wanted to dot the ‘i’ and cross the ‘t.’ “That is what we need to do,” said Martin. “Nothing will be circumvented.”

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