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A&P Commission approves funding requests for 9 local organizations

By Tia Lyons
This article was published January 24, 2018 at 5:00 a.m.

The El Dorado Advertising and Promotion Commission approved $140,000 in requests for proposals for 2018.

The commission initially considered the funding requests on Jan. 9, but agreed to hold off allocating the funds, per an observation and request from Commissioner Barbie Luther.

Luther said then that some applicants had not submitted detailed event budgets — which is one of the requirements of the the A&P’s funding application process.

Commissioners set a deadline of Jan 12 for applicable groups to turn in revised proposals, and they regrouped Tuesday, voting on a total 2018 budget of $260,000, down from $277,000 in 2017.

The overall budget includes the $140,000 in RPFs.

The A&P commission collects its annual budget from a 3 percent local lodging tax. Commissioners noted that tax numbers were down in 2017.

The breakdown for the 2018 budget is advertising (Diamond Agency, the A&P’s ad agency of record), $60,000; the El Dorado Insider (formerly the El Dorado Insider’s Guide), $35,000; administration costs, $10,000; non-designated, $15,000; and RFPs, $140,000.

The commission voted in favor of treasurer Sanjay Patel’s 2018 budget recommendation, including RFP allocations of:

• Murphy Arts District, $85,000.

• South Arkansas Symphony, $15,000.

• Main Street El Dorado, $12,000.

• Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout, $12,000.

• Murphy USA Classic (formerly the Boomtown Classic), $4,000.

• Downtown Business Association, $3,000.

• South Arkansas Historical Preservation Society, $3,000.

• Outdoor Expo, $3,000.

• UCAPS/Boomtown Opry, $3,000.

While most of the funds are designated to help advertise and promote single events for 2018 — such as the Mayhaw Festival, which is presented each year by the historical preservation society —, some of the allocations will be used by groups who host multiple events, such as Main Street and MAD.

A new event that will be supported by the A&P this year is the Boomtown Opry, a country music variety show that will be held on the second Saturday of each month, beginning in April, in the El Dorado Municipal Auditorium to benefit UCAPS.

Keith Owens, who presented the funding request to the A&P commission on Jan. 9, described the event as a “Branson-style” show that will be family friendly and include music, comedians, magicians and dancing from local dance studios.

In other business Tuesday, the commission voted to be a sponsor for the 2018 Henry Awards, tourism industry awards that are handed out each year during the Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

The awards will be held in March in West Memphis.

The A&P commission settled on a $100 sponsorship, the minimum in the Bronze category.

The 2019 conference and Henry Awards will be held in El Dorado, marking the first time the event will be hosted locally.

The A&P commission will not meet in February, unless otherwise notified by chairman Dianne Hammond.

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

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