A&P commission under consideration in Holiday Island

The wheels are in motion for the city of Holiday Island to have an advertising and promotion commission on the ballot in the November election.

At its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, March 19, the city council discussed the benefits of having an A&P commission along with the feedback of residents, and mayor Dan Kees said he would have a proposed ordinance drafted by the April meeting in hopes of getting it approved and on the ballot for November.

A committee appointed by Kees met Feb. 26 to discuss the possibilities and benefits of an A&P commission and reported back to the council.

“Mayor Dan Kees set the ad hoc study committee responsibility to determine potential sources of revenue for the advertising and promotion and estimate on annual revenue potential and the most beneficial uses of the A&P revenue,” Peggy Lodewyks, president of the Holiday Island Chamber of Commerce and chair of the ad hoc committee, told council members.

Lodewyks explained that Arkansas code stipulates that A&P tax comes from lodging and food and beverage sources. Using a 1 percent food and beverage tax example, the A&P would earn $14,427 annually while using a 3 percent example, the A&P tax for lodging would have earned at least $168,000, she said.

During a workshop on Saturday, March 9, there were 12 residents who shared their views on an A&P tax, Lodewyks reported.

“It became apparent the misconception about the A&P tax, its purpose, potential impact and origins, and the main challenges to getting this tax passed by the general public at the next election on Nov. 24,” she said. “The issues brought up was ‘it’s a tax on us.’ Once explained, that it’s rather a user’s tax where folks pay a penny on a dollar if they eat at the restaurant or purchase prepared food.

“… This minimal addition to the investment in our community’s future, one that helps fund critical marketing, beautification and infrastructure projects without placing a significant financial burden on residents or visitors. Folks pay 3 cents on a dollar staying in Eureka [Springs], 2 cents in Bentonville, 2 cents in Fayetteville, or 3 cents on a dollar if they stay in Airbnbs here on Holiday Island. But, how else would we know these places exist? It’s advertising and promotion.”

Once the A&P tax was explained, those residents with concerns seemed more at ease, Lodewyks said.

“It seemed that most of the attendants felt more comfortable about approving the A&P tax and that would be beneficial still to circulate this information … and provide the town hall meetings to continue the discussion,” she said. “The committee recommends an ordinance be adopted by the city, placed on the Nov. 24 election ballot, and continue the open discussions.”

Kees told the council he would continue to work on the wording of the proposed ordinance and have it reviewed by the city’s attorney before presenting it to the council at the April meeting.

The ordinance would have to meet a June deadline to get it placed on the ballot for the November election, the council was told.

In other action, the council also approved the first reading of Ordinance 2024-003 which establishes animal control regulations for the city.