Tue August 15, 2023

By April Lovette


Hope Tourism approves revised procedure for delinquent taxes, hears preliminary reports of festival

Hope Advertising And Tourist Promotion Commission Anna Powell Christy Burns Summer Powell Hope Toursim Jr Wilson
Hope Tourism approves revised procedure for delinquent taxes, hears preliminary reports of festival

The Hope Advertising and Tourist Promotion Commission met for their August meeting tonight and approved the proposal for a revised procedure regarding unpaid A&P taxes. In the last few meetings, options were discussed and a meeting with the city attorney scheduled in order to update the penalty procedure for those businesses who are months behind on paying their A&P taxes, which the commission members said caused a loss of revenue and drain on time/manpower.

City Manger JR Wilson reported that he and Commission Secretary/Parks Director Summer Powell met with City Attorney Randy Wright on July 12th and this final proposal was a result of that meeting. The revised procedure states that businesses failing to remit their A&P Tax will incur a five percent penalty charge after a month's delinquency, and for every month following that, not to exceed 35 percent. In addition to that penalty, a 10 percent annum penalty charge will be applied. Wilson also explained that if a business is 60 days delinquent, then it will trigger a letter to the business stating a payment must be made in the time stated or the operating permit is revoked. If the business operates anyway, it will be given a citation and then the issue is brought before a judge in the court system. Wilson also said a system has been created with shared files so commission members can monitor and have up-to-date information at all times. The now approved procedure will be sent to all businesses informing them of the revisions.

Updates about the Watermelon Festival came next. No final numbers are available yet from any department, but preliminaries could be given. Chamber Director Christy Burns could not be present, but she sent an email to the commission which Summer Powell shared. Burns expressed her appreciation to the Tourism Commission for their support and participation. "It’s a group effort," she said. Burns reported 17 food trucks and 122 vendors, as well as the success of the Thursday-night Dog Show, Watermelon Olympics, Watermelon Idol, Seed-Spitting and Watermelon-Eating Contests, and the River Valley Tractor Kids Zone.

Summer Powell shared information from the Parks & Rec Department with a report of six teams who entered the Watermelon Olympics, 12 in the Cornhole Tourney, and 41 kids in the Fishing Derby. She said the Friday-night co-ed softball Tournament, sponsored by USA Softball had 16 teams, and Hope's big tournament that began Saturday had 61 teams. She reported 26 RV sites were reserved and booked.

EDC Director, and former UAHT Executive Director of Institutional Advancement, Anna Powell updated the commission on the turnout of the Watermelon Festival Concert. Again, no final numbers are available, but with the last-minute cancellation of The Marshall Tucker Band, many refunds had to be given she said. However, since they were able to quickly find a replacement act with the booking of Mark Wills, she said that, overall, the end result was a success and many people seemed pleased with Wills' concert.

Commission members complimented all departments on the successes of the Watermelon Festival.

In other business, Summer Powell asked the Commission to be considering options for manning the ice rink this winter. Last year, she reported, volunteer organizations manned the rink, but there were many cancellations. She said last year the ice rink was open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights from 5pm to 9pm, but after their first season she now believes 5pm to 8pm is a better time. She said the ice rink will officially open November 16th.