Cities across the state of Arkansas have Advertising and Promotions Commissions to assist in promoting tourism. Locally — Hardy, Cherokee Village and Mammoth Spring, have A and P Commissions and have worked together to promote each other. Hardy A and P has undergone some changes in recent years in an attempt to promote the city and draw in more tourism.
As stated on the commission’s website, the commissioners strive to follow the mission statement:
“The Advertising and Promotion Commission will prepare and execute a long term strategic plan for the external advertising of the community, in order to promote tourism and support the commercial growth of the city of Hardy.
The Commission, through progressive thinking and credible, efficient, and responsive actions, will strive to interact and work in partnership with the Hardy City Council to provide, maintain and improve Hardy’s images as a memorable tourist destination by retaining and showcasing its small town atmosphere and unique character.
The Commission will identify and promote Hardy in the appropriate catchment [structured] areas in order to encourage tourism. It will continually review and evaluate its decisions so as to effectively understand its action in order to better determine future needs.
The Commission will prepare and agree on a budget for the upcoming year in good time. It will hold itself accountable and be transparent with the relevant financial reports as well as provide quarterly budgetary updates.
By fulfilling its mission, the A & P Commission will make significant positive contribution to the city of Hardy, for the long term benefit of its residents, business owners and visitors.”
“The success of any mission lies in the unity of all concerned,” said the commissioners as they strive to encourage other Hardy businesses. They appreciate and thank all A and P tax collectors who have submitted and paid their monthly taxes in a timely manner and hope to follow the same pattern in the upcoming year.
The commission would like to issue a few housekeeping tips on completing the tax return, which is the document where a business indicates how much they make a month. Copies of the tax returns have been delivered to every A and P tax collector to use each month to complete and submit their payments. The form must be filled in, signed and dated and submitted with the monthly payment. The form clearly states, “Must be signed by owner or authorized agent.” The commissioners understand that sometimes people forget to sign the form and that is fixable.
The commission would like to remind all tax collectors that the form is a state and a city requirement that all tax documents are signed and dated. “If a state tax form is not signed, the state will not apply your tax payment to the relevant month until a signed form is submitted. The state sends a notice to the business owner stating that the tax for that specific month is overdue and interest and penalties will apply, regardless that you made your payment at that time,” explained commissioner Nimmi Desai. She also said the commission welcomes anyone’s questions with open arms and that they are happy to assist tax collectors with any problems they may have.
Tax collectors are required to pay 1.875 percent of their monthly revenue to the A and P Commission. In a meeting held two years ago, after the reconstruction of the commission, commissioner Dale Maddox read part of an ordinance on what A and P funds can be spent for. “All funds credited to the city’s Advertising and Promotions fund shall be for use for advertising and promoting the city and it’s environment, or for the construction or reconstruction, extension, equipment, improvement, maintenance, repair, operation of a convention center or for the operation of a tourists promotions facilities in the city and facilities necessary for supporting opportunities or otherwise pertaining to a convention center.” He went on to read that the commission determines where and how the funds are spent.
The commission has been working hard to reach tourists on the world wide web by re-vamping the commission’s website and keeping it up to date with upcoming events. They have been working with local marketing agencies and artists to create a “brand” for Hardy. Hardy City Council also passed an ordinance at its Nov. 3 meeting to amend a business ordinance that will hold advertising and promotions tax collectors more accountable. In order to renew a business license with the city of Hardy, a note indicating that you are current with A and P payments, will be required to renew. Therefore, if a business is behind on payments when it is time to renew, that business will not receive a license for the year until caught up on payments A and P.
The commission is made up of Desai, Maddox, Vicki Rice and Freda Gamblin. The commission currently has two empty positions and welcomes anyone interested to talk to them about the requirements for filling the positions.
Hardy Advertising and Promotions Commission meets the second and fourth Monday of every month.