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October Fayetteville hospitality tax revenue sets record

story by Julie Bagley
jbagley@thecitywire.com

Fayetteville recorded another collection record this month for hotel, motel and restaurant (HMR) taxes compared to the same months in past years.

Fayetteville has a 2% hotel/motel and restaurant tax on establishments engaged in the business of renting, leasing or otherwise furnishing hotel or motel accommodations, or selling prepared food or beverages for consumption on or off premises.

The Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion receipts reported in October were $241,017, a 12.25% increase over the same month last year.

“This represents the Jacksonville State, Alabama, and Rutgers games and Bikes,& Blues and BBQ. What a month!” Marilyn Heifner, executive director of the Fayetteville A&P, said in an e-mail note.

Hospitality tax collections during the first 10 months of 2012 total $2.103 million, more than 11% compared to the same period in 2011. October also marked 11 consecutive months of year-over-year increases.

Collections in 2011 totaled $2.299 million, up 5.38% compared to 2010, with 2010 collections up 0.75% compared to 2009.

UNDERGROUND REQUEST
The A&P Commission also awards money for projects twice a year. The amount of money the commission has to distribute twice yearly is tied to sales tax receipts.

Organizers sought more than $300,000 for 21 events or projects in Fayetteville. The fall deadline for funds was Oct. 1. The commission typically awards funds for events or projects for the upcoming year and those who bring in crowds of people from outside the city or large events geared toward tourists.

One of those groups seeking funds is the Fayetteville Underground, a non-profit that has struggled in recent years to provide a venue for artists to work together to promote the arts in Fayetteville.

The group seeks $40,000 to promote its location on the Fayetteville Square (101 W. Mountain St., Suite 222), support administrative work and to develop “the art galleries to make Fayetteville a destination city for the arts and enhance culture on the square.”

The Fayetteville Underground proposal estimates that as many as 5,000 people a month would travel to an enhanced square from Tulsa, Hot Springs, Fort Smith and other regional cities.

“These funds will help us to refine our methods of surveying our visitors as the new Chancellor Hotel around the corner from our galleries attracts visitors from all over the world visiting the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, as well as Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art,” noted the proposal.

A&P commissioners are expected to review the proposal during today’s (Nov. 12) meeting.

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A&P HISTORY
Legislation created the Advertising and Promotion Commission in 1977 with the passage of the Hotel, Motel, Restaurant (HMR) tax in Fayetteville. The 2% tax is split equally between the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and the A&P Commission.

The parks money is used for parks maintenance, operations and for capital improvements. The self-reported numbers do not include retail or liquor sales.

By state legislation, all HMR funds shall be used for advertising and promoting the city and its environs. for the construction, reconstruction, equipment, improvement, maintenance, repair, and operation of a convention center, for the operation of tourist promotion facilities in the city, and for personnel and agencies necessary to conduct the business of the A & P commission.

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