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Spoiling for a fight about the convention center

Thursday, August 31, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Mayor Steve Adler was quite adamant during Tuesday’s work session about winning approval for his “downtown puzzle” plan, which includes an expanded Austin Convention Center, possibly with a private residential tower on top of it. He was equally adamant in his rejection of Council Member Ellen Troxclair’s proposal to reallocate 15 percent of the city’s Hotel Occupancy Tax from Visit Austin, (previously known as the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau) to fund operations and maintenance of city historic facilities as well as funding for parks and music. Adler clearly believes that Troxclair’s proposal, which would free up $12.6 million from the General Fund, would prevent the convention center expansion, although he did not spell out exactly why. Troxclair’s co-sponsors include Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo and Council members Leslie Pool and Ann Kitchen, although Kitchen is also a co-sponsor on the downtown puzzle. Both of those items, 60 and 101, are set for a public hearing at 4 p.m. or after. The Austin Monitor spoke with two downtown hotel employees on Wednesday who were signing up in opposition to Troxclair’s proposal and in favor of Adler’s puzzle and convention center expansion. They said they had not ever signed up for a Council item before, but found the process easy.

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