Hope Tourism Commission Hears Financial Report, Approves Watermelon Festival Softball Tournament Prize – SWARK Today

City Manager Catherine Cooke sheds some light on the Hope Advertising and Tourist Promotion Commission’s discussion of businesses that have fallen behind in paying their tourist tax.

Last night the Hope Tourism Advertising and Promotion Commission met for their regular July meeting. The Commission heard a report on June earnings, then updates on payments and permits, a pitch for the advertising services of the CJRW company of Little Rock. He also decided to approve cash prizes for the Watermelon Festival softball tournament.

After approving the minutes of the last meeting in May, the presentation of the June 2022 revenue report by Hope Parks Superintendent Summer Powell followed. Total revenue for the month was $65,126.01, including $61,202.01 from resort tax, $2,974.00 from the RV park, and $950 listed for other revenue.

Compared to June 2021, revenue was just over $1,000 lower this year. This comes after the department received $84,168.15 in May, which is $17,316.51 more than it received in May 2021.

The department’s expenses for June were $31,121, or $44,785 less than the June 2021 expenses.

Following this, there was a discussion about sending notices to a few companies that are late in paying the tourist tax. City Manager Catherine Cook was on hand to answer questions from the commissioners. He was asked if food trucks that serve Hope audiences for a brief period during special events are taxed. Cook said the city relies on owners of these to voluntarily register and pay for their permits, but if commission members see food trucks not displaying a sticker indicating they’ve paid, report it to his office.

Next, Lisa Garrett of advertising company Little Rock CJRW presented options to the Commission for advertising Hope in several forms of media in the new fiscal year, including online, on television and in print guidebooks. She referred the commissioners to Arkansas.com’s Discover Arkansas page for examples of short videos the company had made for other cities in Arkansas. The commission did not respond to the question.

The commission took action by approving $4,000 for Watermelon Festival softball tournament prizes. Commission chairwoman Sharon Caldwell said the prizes were needed to compete with other softball tournaments in the area that might offer cash prizes to winners. During the discussion, Summer Powell said that it seems like every year another nearby town hosts a softball tournament at the same time as Hope. Last year it was El Dorado. The year before it was Shreveport. When asked if El Dorado was hosting a softball tournament in conjunction with the 2022 Watermelon Festival, Sharon Caldwell said it was not yet known.

Once the agenda items for the meeting were settled, a discussion took place on the fireworks display. Stewards said they received many compliments on how the event was run. Chairman Caldwell said a reported need was for hand sanitizer and booths could be placed at the event next year. Commissioner Trevor Coffee requested more kettle corn. Commissioner Hope Mayor and fireworks organizer Don Still said: ‘We could double the number of food trucks’, prompting Powell to report queuing outside a food truck for 45 minutes before heading out. to be served.

The handling of outbound traffic at the end of the event was praised by stewards who said it was a major improvement over last year.

Prior to the adjournment, the committee agreed to move the date of the August meeting to August 16.

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