The Van Buren Advertising and Promotion Commission saw a slight increase in tax receipts for July after accounting for the higher revenues brought in by a 2 percent increase in the lodging tax.
According to the most recent financial report from the A&P, the city garnered $54,694 in July compared to $43,616 in July 2016. It was about 1.1 percent more than expected, with the A&P budget projecting about $54,083 following the increase from 1 percent to 3 percent collected on Van Buren hotel and lodging stays beginning in January.
June’s tax receipts were also about 0.4 percent higher than expected at $54,953. May was also a good month, with receipts coming in about 2 percent higher than expected at $55,025.
The increase in taxes was approved to help fund operating of the city’s new bus trolley and promotion of new events and developments in downtown, according to Van Buren A&P Executive Director Maryl Purvis. The trolley focuses on shuttling visiting passengers from the Arkansas & Missouri Excursion Train to various sites, restaurants and shops downtown.
The Van Buren City Council approved the lodging tax increase in November. The increase is expected to provide about $110,000 annually in additional revenue.
March has been the biggest month for Van Buren hotels so far this year, bringing in 5.3 percent over projected revenue. The A&P collected $56,483 that month. Revenue for April was $50,419, or about 4 percent lower than expected. January and February projections were off by a combined 6.5 percent, bringing in $46,416 and $47,065, respectively.
The September meeting planned for 4:30 p.m. today was canceled because of a foreseen lack of a quorum.