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Tovo and Troxclair look to HOT funds for city projects

Monday, June 12, 2017 by Jack Craver

On Thursday, City Council approved a $480,000 contract with an architectural firm as part of the planned renovation of the Zilker Metro-Barton Springs Bathhouse. Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo wondered whether the funding, which is coming from the $306 million bond package approved by voters in 2012 for capital improvements, could have instead come from Hotel Occupancy Tax revenue. A representative of the city Law Department suggested that such a project would not be eligible for HOT funds, whose use is limited by state law to a narrow set of tourism-related projects. Council Member Ellen Troxclair suggested delaying approval of the contract so that staff could further investigate the matter, a suggestion that Tovo opposed, saying there was no HOT revenue left for the city to use this year. Council unanimously adopted the contract, although Tovo stressed that she would like staff to try as much as possible to identify projects in the future that might be covered by HOT revenue. Some city leaders have talked about whether HOT revenue can be used to cover the big police overtime costs that the city incurs during major events, notably South by Southwest.

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