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A&P Commission holds off setting funding requests for 2018

By Tia Lyons
This article was published January 10, 2018 at 5:00 a.m.

The El Dorado Advertising and Promotion Commission will reconvene next week to take another look at requests for proposals that have been submitted for 2018.

During a regular meeting Tuesday, the board reviewed several funding requests, with treasurer Sanjay Patel presenting a proposed 2018 A&P budget of $260,000, which included a total of $140,000 for RFPs.

However, before the commission voted on the requests, Commissioner Barbie Luther interjected and asked that the vote be postponed until some groups complied with all of the policies outlined in the A&P application.

Luther said several groups did not submit a detailed event budget, as required by one of the terms of the application.

The policy states that “a detailed event budget must accompany the funding request. It should include an explanation of how the advertising and promotional funds will be administered by the requesting organization. It should separate advertising by market and show how funding all be spent.”

Luther pointed out several groups that she said did not comply with the guideline. The groups were the Murphy Arts District, Boomtown/Murphy USA Classic, Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout and a new event, UCAPS/Boomtown Opry.

Bob Tarren, chief marketing officer for MAD, asked what details were missing from the MAD application.

“There’s no budget at all,” Luther said, referring to the A&P guideline. “You need to separate the advertising … and show how the funding is to be spent.”

Tarren said the A&P funding request was a portion of the MAD’s overall event/marketing budget for 2018.

Luther said several groups submit one application for funds that will cover more than one event for the year.

Keith Owens later asked for more information on how to revise the application for the Union County Animal Protection Society/Boomtown Opry.

Owens described the event as a “Branson-style” country music variety show that will be held on the second Saturday of each month, beginning in April, at the El Dorado Municipal Auditorium.

He said the show will be family friendly and will include music, comedians, magicians and dancing from local dance studios.

“We’re teaming up with UCAPS to put on a show that will benefit UCAPS. It’s a win-win as far as helping a nonprofit and bring people to El Dorado,” Owens said.

Organizers will market and promote the show up to 90 miles outside El Dorado, exceeding the 50-mile radius that is required by the A&P.

Initial attendance projections are 400 – 600 and organizers are hoping to build an average audience size of 1,000, Owens said.

Sandy McGuire, president of the UCAPS board of directors, said proceeds will be used to fund a voucher system for spay-neuter services.

McGuire said the low-cost clinic that was hosted in El Dorado six times a year will no longer be able to come here to perform the service, which takes care of approximately 600 animals per year.

Luther said the A&P commission encourages new events in the community and their organizers to take advantage of available funding from the commission to market and promote the events.

Dianne Hammond, a city alderman and chairman of the A&P, said groups who do not adhere to the RFP application guidelines are typically not considered for approval.

Luther said the groups — including the Opry, the newest applicant — should be given the opportunity to revise their applications.

She suggested that the A&P review the requests again next month, but Commissioner Judy Ward, also a city alderman, said the group should meet sooner.

“I recommend we come back next week and not wait until February so these groups can go ahead and get started,” Ward said.

Commissioners voted to meet at 2 p.m. Jan. 17 to review the revised applications, which must be submitted to City Treasurer Bonnie Wyles by noon on Friday.

Other groups who applied for A&P funding include Main Street El Dorado, South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, South Arkansas Historical Preservation Society, the Downtown Business Association and the Outdoor Expo, presented by the South Arkansas Community College Foundation, Inc.

Both Hammond and Patel noted that A&P revenues for 2017 were down, and the proposed 2018 budget is $28,000 lower than that of 2017.

Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or tlyons@ eldoradonews.com.

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