WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - It’s almost election day in Wichita Falls and one of the things on the ballot would bring some much needed help to the MPEC and Memorial Auditorium.
The hotel motel tax is the tax paid to the city when someone stays in a hotel in Wichita Falls. If a two percent increase is approved by voters, that money helps the city’s venues become more attractive, all without costing taxpayers a dime.
“There are some improvements that are needed that are big ticket items,” General Manager of the MPEC said.
A new roof animal stalls, and room dividers are just some of the things Tipton says the MPEC, Kay Yeager Coliseum, and Ag Center need. All of that could be purchased, if the hotel occupancy tax is passed
“Now hopefully we can do that and make ourselves a little bit more appealing and attractive to some of these events that we can’t do right now,” Tipton said.
The proposed increase would raise the tax rate on people staying in hotels by 2%, Meaning a $50 hotel room would cost you a buck more and a $100 one would be $2 more.
“Any city throughout the state, if the collect those revenues from the hotels, the money can only go towards promotion of the convention and tourism industries,” Director of the cities convention and visitor’s bureau Lindsay Barker explained.
When it comes time to vote, the increase is split into two parts on the ballot. One’s for the MPEC and one for memorial auditorium. To get funding each issue needs at least 51% of the vote in its favor. If they both get that much, than he money is split between the two. The city of Wichita Falls decided on the tax increase to fund the infrastructure issues the buildings have. It was separated into two items to vote on because the two areas where too far apart to be lumped together.
“This is an alternative that they have put forth to our voters as a way to pay for this cost, without having to pull the money from somewhere else in the budget,” Barker said.
Early voting across Texas begins October 21st for the constitutional amendment election and in Wichita Falls, the proposed hotel tax rate will be on the ballot. You can find a full list of polling locations for both early voting and election day here.