JONESBORO — The Jonesboro Advertising & Promotion Commission announced Monday afternoon the hiring of its first full-time salaried position.

Renee Golas, originally from the area, will be taking on the role as the Jonesboro sports sales manager.

Jerry Morgan, commission chairman, said there has been talk the position could lead to more.

“This could be so much more than a salesperson,” he said. “I really think this could grow.”

Members of the commission approved a starting salary of $52,500 per year, including a $400 a month stipend to cover health care expenses.

Golas took a moment to address commissioners: “I am thrilled to be back in Arkansas,” she said.

Morgan told commissioners Golas will begin her position on Aug. 1, when she will be set up at an office at the Embassy Suites.

“This is our first full-time employee,” Morgan said. “I sent out a personnel policy and am asking for approval of that now.”

Morgan also said the decision to partner with local certified public accountant Brent G. Cassidy was solidified.

“He does similar work for the Downtown Jonesboro Association, who also has just one or two employees,” Morgan said.

The commission also heard the financial report on income from the 3 percent sales tax that funds the commission’s projects.

Morgan said the commission received just $565,548 last year during the pandemic, compared to $691,482 before the pandemic.

“This year, in April, May and June, we have picked back up,” he said, noting some of the increase was due to a couple of conventions booked at Embassy Suites.

Although the commission has received some revenue for those bookings, the rebate contract signed during negotiations for Embassy Suites will soon be in effect.

“July of this year will start the rebate,” he said. “Three percent will be rebated back beginning July of this year. This will be in effect for 10 years for a maximum of $2.5 million.”

Morgan said he did not see the rebate affecting the commission’s budget too much.

“Even with the rebate of Embassy, we will still be ahead in collections,” he said.

“We are up by $14,113. These are interesting numbers for us to continue to monitor closely,” Morgan said.

“We have paid out $552,000 in requests, and we still have $439,000 to still fund,” he said, noting the account currently reflects a sum of $639,843.

Danny Kapales, director of parks and recreation, informed commissioners that while this year has been a rainy year, the rain fell at the right times, which did not cause much disruption for the department.

“We are helping with renovating one of our fields, field 10, which is facing the wrong direction,” Kapales said. “We are going to flip it to the inside.”

He also informed commissioners there was a couple of really nice swim meets held.

“They are bringing players in who want to be in Jonesboro and who want to utilize what we have here,” he said.

A special meeting to discuss the sports complex was part of the final discussion.

“Hopefully within the next two to three weeks we will announce the dates on that,” he said.