JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Think of some of your notable events in Jonesboro like the Downtown Jonesboro BBQ Fest or well-known organizations like The Foundation of Arts.
The Jonesboro Advertising and Promotion Commission awards organizations like those thousands of dollars annually.
But, how much depends on how successful the 3% hotel tax is.
According to the Commission’s Chairman, Jerry Morgan, the year started off strong, especially having the new Embassy Suites completed.
However, after the start of the pandemic, many events were canceled, and traveling stop causing a net decrease of about 25 percent in hotel occupancy and hotel revenue.
The A&P is 100 percent funded by the 3-percent hotel tax. That money then comes to A&P and they allocate it back to several different city events and organizations.
For the year 2020, A&P awarded $734,000 to around 30 organizations.
But for 2021, they awarded about $554,000, down almost 25 percent, meaning those same organizations saw that decrease of 25 percent in what they received.
Morgan says although their numbers are down, the decrease was still lower than what’s being seen across the nation and state. He says this has been the toughest grant cycle they ever had.
“If the pandemic gets out of way and it will rebound and we will be back to our normal numbers, maybe even more. But, we also are going to work really hard to maintain our cash reserve to also be ready if this thing lingers on or gets worse into 2021,” Morgan said.
He says they did all they could do in making it work with what they had and was still able to fund most organizations, adding it made it all better because the organizations were understanding and appreciative.
Morgan says there will still be some good, safe and exciting events coming down the pipeline, even with the decrease.
Below is a chart of Jonesboro A&P Commission 2021 Applicants: