Convention center getting facelift

Improvements are being made at the Pine Bluff Convention Center, the facility’s finance committee learned in a Tuesday meeting.

Bob Purvis, the center’s director, told the panel that the facility’s maintenance staff has “redone” almost the entire sprinkler system, and a new, rubber roof is being installed over a portion of the building in a project funded with insurance money netted from hail damage.

Meanwhile, large signs have been posted outside the facility, directing visitors to the main entrance.

Purvis also announced that he is looking into a new state law on auditing of businesses collecting municipal “hamburger” and hotel taxes. Purvis said the legislation will allow some checking of local tax reporting with state tax figuring, with felony fraud charges possibly awaiting businesses falsifying city tax amounts.

Purvis told panelists that the center is profiting from the recent mild weather. In July, the facility experienced utility costs of $14,030 — $1,345 below the budgeted amount of $15,375. Entergy’s bill for the month was $8,932, some $1,568 less than the budgeted sum of $10,500.

Also during July, the center recognized $3,325 in banquet and meeting room income. Through July, the facility netted a banquet and meeting room profit of $28,745 and total building revenue of $69,954. Total revenues for the period were $998,016.

Public support from the advertising and tourism promotion (hamburger and hotel) tax collections for the month were $87,133, down $16,367 from an anticipated $103,000. For the year, tax revenues totaling $923,142 have been collected, $358 less than a budgeted amount of $923,500.