HOT resolution on August 31, 2017

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HOT resolution on August 31, 2017

Postby Kathie Tovo » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:09 pm

Colleagues:

I appreciate Council Member Troxclair bringing forward Item #60 on the August 31, 2017, Council agenda.

I’ve received questions from a few community members about this item and thought it might be helpful for me to clarify my support as a co-sponsor of the resolution.

I see this resolution as an extension of the discussions I initiated in last year’s budget process which led to the reallocation of just under $1 million in hotel/motel tax revenue from the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau/Visit Austin to the Parks and Recreation Department. This $900,000+ helped fund preservation projects at Oakwood Cemetery, the O’Henry Museum, and other city sites.

PARD also prepared a memo to Council outlining other projects that could be eligible for HOT funding. And I've indicated in discussions over the last year, I believe other projects such as the Red River Cultural District improvements might also be eligible expenses for HOT, and the Visitor Impact Task Force and others have offered additional suggestions.

So, I am very supportive of scrutinizing current expenses and future projects within PARD, Economic Development, and other relevant departments to determine which might be shifted to HOT funding during this year’s budget cycle. Although Council Member Troxclair’s resolution will not come before Council until August 28, I hope we can begin discussing the possibilities for reallocating HOT funds during our budget work sessions.

In my opinion, this resolution stands independent of discussions about the creation of a dedicated funding stream for services related to homelessness, a possible convention center expansion, a TPID, the Waller Creek TIF, and other related issues. I look forward to our staff briefing on 8/29 on those issues and hope we can begin to talk about those issues in some depth and with consideration for the range of financial options that may exist.

As a related aside -- I should add that last fall the Council also asked the ACVB/Visit Austin to increase the amount distributed through the heritage grants program and to increase heritage and diversity marketing. The presentation prepared for tomorrow’s Audit and Finance meeting suggests that Visit Austin has focused on both of those goals over the last year, and I look forward to hearing more about this good work.

Kathie Tovo
Mayor Pro Tem District 9
Kathie Tovo
 
Posts: 60
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:18 am

Re: HOT resolution on August 31, 2017

Postby Leslie Pool » Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:32 am

Colleagues,

I appreciate and support MPT Tovo's message. I, too, am looking forward to discussing the ways we can share the revenue the City receives via the Hotel Occupancy Tax. Additionally, I want to re-emphasize that our Legal staff reminds us that we cannot use HOT revenue to fund projects related to homelessness. There have been a few unfortunate headlines in recent weeks that would seem to tie funding for homelessness downtown to an expansion of the Convention Center. It would take a series of complex maneuvers to accomplish that, including creation of a Tourism Public Improvement District, the governance of which district would be similar to the Visitors Bureau in its accountability to the City Council and, by extension, the residents of the city. As with the tax swap idea, this idea deserves more discussion and a whole lot more detail and explanation about governance, accountability, revenue anticipated and timeline for such estimates.

Leslie
Council Member District 7
Leslie Pool
 
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:22 pm


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