(5) comments Back to story

Wayne D Holt

Keri, thank you for a very thorough treatment of this topic. It sounds to me like the question of the legitimacy of how Galveston funds events with HOT is anything but an open and shut case.

A question: could (not will) the City fund the $90,000 it's set aside for legal defense of current practices by using HOT funds? If not, why not? If cleaning up trash after an event promotes tourism, wouldn't defending against tourism event changes also qualify?

Allen Flores

FACTS ONLY: Here is the written opinion from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott in 2011: "Chapter 351 prohibits hotel occupancy tax revenues, including any surplus funds, from being expended for general city purposes." Here is what City manager Brian Maxwell stated, "Mardi Gras is 100% funded with hotel occupancy taxes, general city expenses." Maxwell said, "police and public works are general city expenses." Attorney general Abbott wrote, "spending hotel taxes for general city purposes is entirely inconsistent with the express prohibition in section 351.101(b) against such use."

Allen Flores

Maxwell admitted that he takes money from the "convention and hotel industry" to pay for the promoter's expenses with free city services. Instead of moving the promoter's teen raves, concerts and disorderly crowds to a proper area, the city chooses to lose $250K in taxes placing vendors in front of local businesses and charging taxpayers. The Seawall costs about $50K without any vendors and street-parties, the downtown costs $350K with street-parties and vendors.

Paul Harrington

Teen Raves. Lol. What is Bliss?

mark jones

Whether mardi gras is paid with hotel tax or not, the city should stop putting vendor booths in the streets and move the organizers' street parties away from the cruise ships and businesses in the historic district. Time for city officials to try something different. The motorcycles are a big problem also. How many more years do the motorcycle organizers get approval to control the town without citizen input?

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