At the council meeting Monday night local restaurant Patron was the subject of some debate concerning how businesses pay their advertising and promotion tax fees. According to Greenwood City Attorney Mike Hamby the Mexican Restaurant has not paid their portion of the tax.
“I sent them a threatening letter,” said Hamby. “They came in at the end of the day and made an initial payment to Sharla (Derry, City Clerk/Treasurer for the city) and promised that they would be back in with the rest,” said Hamby. “We have not seen hide nor hair of them.”
Hamby stated that the letter he sent stated that it would be the only letter that they would receive and “If they did not make Sharla happy that I was going to be back with a lock to put on their door.”
Hamby stated that he could not go through with his plan to get a court order to shut the business down without direction from the council. Derry stated that the last payment she received was in August for the months of June and July.
The council vote unanimously to give Hamby the permission he needs to proceed with the court order. Derry stated that other businesses in town have gotten behind in the past but in the case of Patron she is not able to get a response from them.
The struggle with Patron brought to light the issue of how the A&P taxes are collected. Each business is expected to bring in their receipts and pay what they owe. “It is almost an honor system as to how much businesses pay,” said Derry. “We have to depend on the receipt that they report.”
“The only way we know to correctly determine how far behind they are is by going to the Arkansas Finance Department and seeing that they have been paying their state and county taxes,” said Alderman Rod Powell.
Hamby stated that he would contact the Arkansas Department of Finance to find out how much the restaurant owes.
“We should be doing that anyway,” said Greenwood Mayor Doug Kinslow. “Not that we don’t think people are trustworthy. But that is not a good process.”