The Stephenville City Council is asking voters to decide on a measure in May that would increase the city’s hotel tax by two percent. Money generated by the extra revenue, expected to total about $140,000 per year, would be used to improve the city’s sports facilities.
The state permits municipalities, subject to voter approval, a two percent increase to the hotel tax with the additional revenue directed to a local venue.
“We have chosen a sports venue because that will allow us to improve our recreational facilities, like our baseball fields, that will draw in more tournaments and put people in hotels,” said City Manager Alan Barnes. “This is an opportunity to improve the quality of life for our citizens without impacting our taxpayers. The increase would be absorbed by travelers staying at our hotels.”
Mayor Doug Svien said now is the time to approve such a measure.
“As Tarleton State University goes D1, there will be a major increase in hotel occupancy,” Svien said. “So TSU’s growth will benefit the citizens of Stephenville.”
If approved, the funds would be used to improve, construct, enlarge, equip, repair or operate and maintain ballfields, concession stands, courts and recreational facilities owned by the city.
“The improvements will help bolster experiences for local users and attract more regional tournaments that bring additional sales and hotel occupancy tax revenue from areas outside of Stephenville,” said city councilman Ricky Thurman.
The city’s current hotel tax generates between $400,000-$500,000 per year.
Councilman Brandon Huckabee said he also supports the measure and hopes voters will as well.
“This is a way to fund improvements to our recreation facilities that are long overdue,” Huckabee said. “I believe we are positioned to be a regional hub to host all kinds of sporting tournaments. This would be a big economic boon for our local businesses.”