CAPC OKs additional funds for special events

Thursday, June 3, 2021

The Eureka Springs City Advertising and Promotion Commission spent much of its May 26 meeting adding expenses to the budget, with a particular emphasis on special events.

Chairman Jeff Carter suggested moving the fireworks budget item under special events and invited parks commission chairman Kevin Ruehle to address the commission. Ruehle said the parks commission already approved $7,500 for the Fourth of July fireworks show, asking the CAPC to cover the remaining $7,500.

“We have permission from the property owners and we’ve already got the insurance certificates taken care of,” Ruehle said. “The only thing we need to resolve is a rain date because that needs to be part of the contract.”

“My understanding is this show would be much bigger than the last show we did,” Carter said.

Ruehle agreed, saying it would cost $10,000 to put on a show like the one in 2019. That package is not available for the Fourth of July, Ruehle said, so the city has to pay $15,000 for a bigger show. Having the show on the Fourth of July, Carter said, is great for tourism.

“It means people will stay the night and enjoy Monday as well,” Carter said.

Commissioner James DeVito moved to spend $7,500 on the fireworks show and the commission unanimously agreed to do so.

The commission also heard from May Festival of the Arts organizer Sandy Martin, who said there will be a focus on public art and creating selfie opportunities during the summer. The festival has been rescheduled to the fall, Martin said, between Diversity Weekend and the Folk Festival.

“That could be a nice transition and a nice, tight three or four-week period to bring tourists in for diversified reasons,” Martin said.

Commissioner Carol Wright said the budget for the festival was originally $25,000 but “someone is suggesting we cut that to $10,000.”

“I know you are well into your process so my recommendation is going to be that we stay with the $25,000, but I wanted to make sure you knew the amount was up for discussion,” Wright said.

“I agree,” Carter said. “I’d like to see the festival of the arts put back at $25,000.”

Wright moved to “support the original budget of $25,000 for the festival of the arts,” and the commission unanimously agreed to do so.

The commission then addressed Music in the Park, which was budgeted at $15,000. Commissioner Melissa Greene said there was originally $100,000 in the budget for grant opportunities that will not be used and suggested using those funds to cover the additions for the fireworks, May Festival of the Arts and additional money for Music in the Park.

“Just because it’s in the budget doesn’t mean we have to spend it,” Greene said. “I’d like to move $10,000 into the Music in the Park and see where we can go from there.”

The commission unanimously approved the motion. The commission also approved $10,000 for Mardi Gras, $40,000 for the Folk Festival and $2,000 for Drumming in the Park.

The commission then approved additional expenses for Paradise Marketing, including $11,250 for website maintenance, $47,000 for the ad agency fee and $58,500 for social and web services. Later in the meeting, the commission agreed to renew its contract with the Eureka Springs Historical Museum to provide visitor services for $7,200 per year.

Carter announced that his seat has come open and DeVito nominated Carter to remain in the position for the next four years. Earlier in the meeting during public comments, Beau Satori and Jeff Gregory asked the commission not to reappoint Carter.

When Satori approached the mic, Carter could be heard saying, “Of course.” Satori said Carter and Wright have sown discord in the community “through arrogance and micromanaging” that led to a $17 million lawsuit against the city.

“These people have no business being on this commission,” Satori said. “We need to bring the city together.”

Gregory said he’s concerned about the lawsuit, too.

“Mr. Carter … in your short tenure of being here, you’ve pissed off a lot of people,” Gregory said. “If you lose these lawsuits, that means our tax dollars are going to pay lawsuits.”

After DeVito moved to reappoint Carter, commissioner Harry Meyer asked if there are any other nominations and Carter said no. The commission unanimously voted to reappoint Carter.

“Thank you for your vote of confidence,” Carter said.

Also at the meeting, Carter addressed The Auditorium and said CAPC employee Ron Sumner “would actually like to put his hat into the ring to be maybe an interim director or maybe a director but he would like more clarification about what that job would be.” Greene moved for Meyer to lead a committee to get a job description and the commission unanimously agreed to do so.

After the meeting, a reporter approached Carter with a question. Carter said he had no comments before the question was asked, then asked what the question was. The reporter asked if Carter was referring to Sumner being the director of the Auditorium or the CAPC as a whole and Carter said he had no comments.

The commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 9, at The Auditorium.

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