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Advertising and Promotion Commission adds second special meeting this week

Advertising and Promotion Commission adds second special meeting this week

October 12th, 2017 by Karl Richter in Texarkana News

The Texarkana, Ark., Advertising and Promotion Commission has added a second special meeting this week.

In addition to today's 5 p.m. meeting, the commission will convene Friday at 4 p.m., it announced Wednesday.

A recent complaint against the commission is the only agenda item for today's meeting. Topics to be covered in Friday's meeting include the commission's bylaws, its attorney's budget, a judge's recent ruling concerning the Arkansas Convention Center and a funding request from Gathering of Authors.

The organizers of Gathering of Authors in recent weeks have complained to state and city officials about the commission's policies, including the number of votes required to approve funding.

A section of the commission's bylaws states "all members" must vote to approve funding outside the normal annual disbursement in October. The rule has been interpreted to mean all members present if there is a quorum, but at a Sept. 11 meeting, commission attorney Josh Potter said in his opinion it means all seven members.

At that meeting, based on the new rule interpretation, the commission refused to vote on awarding funding to Gathering of Authors because all seven members were not present and therefore a unanimous vote was impossible.

The commission has yet to decide whether to appeal a bankruptcy judge's decision to transfer to a new owner all tax benefit agreements previously made with the Arkansas Convention Center.

At issue was the annual payment of $150,000 in financial incentives negotiated between the center's original owner, Dr. Hiren Patel, and the commission. The 15-year agreement, which began in 2011, included a rebate of any city hotel and restaurant taxes the convention center would owe over the term of the deal.

When James Naples of Texarkana purchased the center in April, Judge Brenda Rhodes denied a transfer of the benefit. However, she did rule that the A&P Commission would continue to uphold another agreement of $84,000 in annual incentive payments to the center. That agreement runs from 2014 to 2020.

Rhodes reversed her earlier ruling Sept. 19 at the end of the hearing in bankruptcy court in Plano, Texas.

The commission distributes revenues from the city's hotel and restaurant taxes to various events and organizations it judges to be supportive of the Arkansas-side tourism and hospitality industries.

Both meetings will take place in the Board Room of City Hall, 216 Walnut St.


Gazette reporter Lynn LaRowe contributed to this report.

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