By Jeri Borst
At the Mena Advertising and Promotions Commission August meeting it was reported that Lime Tree Hotel and Resturant had not paid the city the AP sales tax, which is levied on dinning and lodging establishments in the city of Mena.
“It took me by surprise to read it in the paper,” owner Amir Zakirali said. “I was glad one of my staff saw the article and brought it to my attention.”
Though attempts had been made to obtain reports and collect payment by the city, communication broke down and he was not notified of the city’s efforts, Zakirali explained.
“They never met me directly. They were dealing with my manger, and the last month and half or two she has been on sick leave,” Zakirali said. “She was dealing with serious health concerns.”
Zakirali said the manager was in possession of the information and forms requested by the city, but was unable to complete the task at the time due to the health issues.
“I did not know to follow up on it, because I thought when we send sales tax to the state, it sends it to counties and cities. So there was a misunderstanding.”
Zakirali said as soon as the information was brought to his attention, he reached out to the city to take corrective measures.
City Treasurer Linda Rexroad confirmed that Lime Tree Inn and Restaurant submitted the required documentation and sales tax within days of the article in the Polk County Pulse.
Zakirali said he hopes the community understands how the error occurred and that the corrective action makes amends.
“We had a few reservations cancel, and that does not just hurt me, it hurts my staff and their livelihoods. They are like family to me and I feel responsible for them.”
Zakirali said he feels when employees are treated like family, the business and the community prosper.
“It has a ripple effect and I want to have a positive impact,” he said. “There has been lots of inquiry about the restaurant and people are excited to hear we will be opening soon. I want to serve the community, that’s my goal.”