Harrison Convention and Visitors Bureau director Matt Bell told members of the City Advertising and Tourism Promotion Commission that a couple of restaurants that are behind in sales tax submissions could see water turned off to their businesses.
The CATPC is the governing body of the CVB, which is funded by sales taxes collected on prepared foods and hotel/motel rooms.
Bell explained that tax collections are better than a month ago, especially from restaurants. The eateries are beginning to rebound from effects of the pandemic, but hotels and motels are still not doing well.
Still, he said hotels will recover more easily in Harrison than in larger locations like Little Rock, which have relied heavily on business from large conventions that are just not happening yet.
Bell went over a list of restaurants that are delinquent in sales tax submissions.
At Aunt Bea’s, the owner’s wife, who is also the bookkeeper, has had health problems, but she is set to clear up the minimal amount of delinquent submissions soon.
The College Grill and Knuckle Sandwich had been delinquent at the time the report was printed for commissioners, but that was paid in full Wednesday.
Daylight Donuts also was delinquent, but management there often gets a few months behind and pays all at once. Bell said he had no concern about the business.
Hoshi was behind, but the business is now under new management and Bell said he is working with them to get it caught up.
Bell said the owner at Marsha’s Midtown Café was embarrassed to still be on the delinquency list, but she gave him contact information for her tax preparer and the delinquent amount is set to be satisfied soon.
Management at Neighborhood Diner also gets behind and pays all in a lump sum, so Bell said it wasn’t a concern.
Ranch House missed the April submission, but the business was also damaged by fire and was probably closed part of that time, Bell said.
“I’m not pressing that issue with him,” Bell said. “He’s got bigger fish to fry and it’s only April that he missed.”
Razorback Ribs had turned in partial payment for some past collections and Bell said he anticipated the remainder to be collected soon.
The owner of The Queen Anne House bed and breakfast was also behind, but it’s a minimal amount and is usually paid quarterly.
Management at T’s BBQ had been “seriously behind,” Bell said, but they had submitted payments for the entire year so far. They didn’t realize they had missed November and December of the previous year, but that will be caught up soon.
Roma’s was also behind, but the owner had been out of town and they are making a plan to catch up.
Bell said he had “great news” about the three White Oak Stations, which were behind due to the owner going “belly up.”
He said he talked to former owner Steve Turner and he gave Bell contact information for the accountant for the corporation and payment is scheduled to be arranged soon. He said the process for submitting taxes apparently hadn’t been relied properly.
Bell said Jasmine Thai has a substantial delinquency but is closed, although there is nothing keeping them from reopening. He said he was told there is a potential buyer for the business and it remains to be seen whether a new owner would be legally bound to pay that debt.
But he said he is going to ask the city to enforce the portion of the business license ordinance that would see water shut off to the restaurant for not being in compliance with tax collections.
Management at Primo’s went to the CVB office to set up a payment plan to satisfy delinquent submissions. That plan was sent to her email address and a hard copy was mailed to her, but she hadn’t responded to any messages since that time.
Bell said if there is no response by the end of July, he will also ask the city to enforce the ordinance and cut off water to the business.
Commissioners asked Bell if all legal requirements had been met for shutting off water. Bell said they had and no commissioners objected to the move.
Bell said that if water is disconnected, the CVB will also inform the state Health Department that the businesses are no longer in compliance with state standards.
“It should be interesting,” Bell said.