The debate on what to do with the city’s Hotel Occupancy Tax revenue is not over.
Mayor Kenny Weldon will present a proposal to the Stephenville City Council Tuesday night urging them to take a closer look at making sure the city is in compliance with state law when it comes to managing revenue from the HOT fund.
Weldon said the council recently heard a presentation from the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association that made him question whether the city was adhering to state law when it comes to how the money is used.
Last month the council voted to strip the Chamber of Commerce of its hotel (HOT) tax to the tune of $240,000 annually and create a city-run tourism center, a move that stunned Weldon and Chamber representatives.
“I was surprised by the whole course of events that evening,” Weldon said Monday during a telephone interview, adding that the recommendation to defund the Chamber at the end of the year was never discussed by the full council before the vote.
Weldon said his proposal has more to do with establishing policies and procedures than how to spend the money.
“We have no city ordinance, policy or procedures in place to ensure that we are complying with the tax code,” he said.
Weldon also wants to establish a 90-day task force chaired by City Administrator Allen Barnes and consisting of representatives from the city council, Chamber of Commerce, SEDA, Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council, the Stephenville Historical House Museum, Downtown Merchants Association, hotels, Tarleton and a citizen at large.
“There are good solutions out there, we just need to see what works for us,” Weldon said. “We should enter into a short-term contract until we get this sorted out. A task force would help us decide what to do with the HOT tax and how to move forward.”
Tuesday’s meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall.