A&P Commission pays for Christmas lights; discusses next step for Event Center


The Monticello Advertising and Promotions Commission held its monthly meeting at 5 p.m. on Monday, November 27, in the conference room at the Hampton Inn. Commissioners present were Shannon Herman, Kim Patel, Andy Patel, and Mike Wigley. Also present were the A&P Commission’s Administrative Assistant, Ryan Copico, and Event Center Planning Committee member, Ron Echols.

The meeting opened with the approval of the meeting minutes from October and the approval of the October financial statement. With both being approved, the commission looked at unpaid invoices.

Commissioner Kim Patel made a motion to pay Southern Magnolia Landscaping $9,500 for the final installment of the Christmas lights being displayed in town. The motion was seconded by Wigley and passed unanimously.

The commissioners then looked at an item that pertained to their operating budget. Copico stated that he was contacted by Ashley Rodermund from the City’s Finance Department, and was informed that even though he is considered a part-time employee, because he has worked 80 or more hours for three consecutive months he should be automatically enrolled in the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System (APERS). Even if Copico’s hours were cut, he would still be enrolled. Moving forward, the commission will have to pay $128.60 to APERS per pay period. There was also an expense of $3,725.62, which was back pay to APERS dating back to Copico’s hire date. The commissioners agreed to amend the 2024 budget to make the $128.69 available each pay period.

Echols then came before the commission to discuss the Event Center Planning Committee’s proposed next step for the Event Center Project. Echols presented a project proposal from the Sells Agency out of Little Rock. The proposal was broken down into Phase One and Phase Two.

Phase One would be the Sells Agency designing, building, and distributing a survey, via Facebook, that will poll the citizens of Monticello and Drew County to find what they would want in an Event Center, and once the plans are made, if they will be willing to help pay for it through an additional tax or millage. The cost of Phase One is $8,400.

Phase Two would come into play if Phase One failed to collect enough data. If needed, Phase Two would include a pay-boosted social media campaign which would attempt to reach more people. The cost of Phase Two would be an additional $2,150 bringing the total for the project to $10,550. Echols asked the commissioners to consider approving this expense to get the Sells Agency working on this as soon as possible.

“We have to act fast,” Echols said. “We have to get this on the ballot in November if there is going to be a tax involved. We need to get the ball rolling.”

After a brief deliberation, the commission approved the expense. Echols said that he would call the Sells Agency and set up a meeting to start crafting the survey. He hopes to meet with them within a week.

“Honestly, we have to take this momentum and act on it,” Echols added. “This may be our last chance to make this happen. It’s definitely the last chance in my lifetime.”

With no further business, the meeting was adjourned until a time to be determined in December.