WM A& P numbers up despite see- saw pattern
Tourism dollars fluctuating month- to- month
City Treasurer Frank Martin produced tourism tax numbers through April. The “City of West Memphis Advertising & Promotion 1% and/or 2% Tourism Tax” report was distributed to A& P commissioners during the June 15 meeting.
While the year to date number reflected an increase in revenue, the month-to-month numbers showed an up and down pattern. January and March were up. February and April see-sawed down. The last month reported, April, brought in $125,687 and was down $3,057 or minus 2.37 percent from the same month a year ago.
But the A& P tax collection showed a bigger overall number year to date. The A& P tax fiscal year matches the calendar year.
Nearly half a million dollars was scooped up from diners and lodgers. As of the end of April $492,660 had poured into the A& P. A 5.86 percent rise over the same four months last year amounted to $27,389 so far. A& P Cash in the bank at the end of the same report period was $450,305, plus six certificates of deposits totaling another $1.247 million.
Martin missed the A& P meeting. The annual legislative audit and Municipal League meetings dominate the city manager’s time in the late spring. In Martin’s stead City Tourism Director Jim Jackson presented the report to the A& P at the June meeting.
“Speaking of Frank, here is his report for the taxes year to date,” said Jackson.
“We are up almost six percent right now.”
City sales tax numbers generally mirror A& P trends, but not always.
As of half way point of 2016, Martin has yet to release any city sales taxes to The Evening Times. Martin has given lip service, acknowledging the requests saying he’d send the figures, but has failed to follow up a single time on the promises to turn over the reports. The city treasurer suspended the established practice of sharing the sales tax results to the paper last year as city employees increasingly clamored for raises.
“I really don’t want to be asked about raises all the time,” said Martin in October.
Full-time permanent city employees grabbed a 3 percent holiday bonus before the black Friday shopping deals last year. City workers got another three percent pay raise at the beginning of the year. Another round of raise considerations lingers over an incomplete wage study.
Budget Committee discussions about more possible raises centered on a benchmark wage comparison to similar municipalities. That work stalled this year with a change in city human resource managers. The budget committee meetings also became sporadic. It has not met on its established regularly monthly schedule this year. Martin represents the city administration on that committee.
The Treasurer’s office voice mail does not work.
By John Rech