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Tension mounts over use of hotel tax

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 by Jo Clifton

In addition to its briefing and discussion today on how best to help Hurricane Harvey evacuees and the city of Houston, City Council is scheduled to have a regular work session. That agenda features a briefing on “financial options for downtown.” Mayor Steve Adler, of course, has been pushing for an ambitious plan that includes expansion of the Austin Convention Center and adding two cents to the city’s Hotel Occupancy Tax. Council members Ellen Troxclair, Leslie Pool, Ann Kitchen and Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo want to use HOT money for parks and historic venues, among other things. Kitchen has signed on as a sponsor of Adler’s plan, creating questions about how she will vote if it comes down to one or the other plan. On its executive session agenda, Council is scheduled to hear from its attorneys and discuss legal issues related to Council Member Jimmy Flannigan’s proposal to rescind a vote rejecting changing zoning so as to allow for a liquor store on Hymeadow Drive. Council members are also scheduled to discuss legal issues related to fire, police and emergency medical service labor negotiations. And, as if that were not enough, they are scheduled to hear about and discuss Dripping Springs’ application for a permit to spray treated effluent into Walnut Springs and Onion Creek. They could have a long day.

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