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Austin Council Considering Special Events Fund

Updated: Tuesday, April 29 2014, 06:39 PM CDT

The Austin City Council may create a special events fund to recover lost fees from Austin's festivals, road races and other events.

Council Member Kathie Tovo is sponsoring a resolution that would look into using the hotel occupancy tax to pay for the fund.

In the past the city has waived fees for large-scale events totaling $1 million.

Between 2009 and 2013 it's estimated the Austin Police Department absorbed $8 million to cover special events.

Now council wants to recover costs going forward and save taxpayer dollars.

In 2013 the city received more than $61 Million from the nine percent hotel occupancy tax.

Executive director of the Trail of Lights Foundation James Russell says he is for the fund.

"We would want to qualify for it and not just have them give it to us," said Russell.

But the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau says taking a chunk of the hotel tax could hurt the marketing budget for the city,

"We get about 1.45 cents of the nine percent of the city tax that is collected from the hotels," said Julie Chase, "Our budget would not withstand the budgets of other competitive cities."

Council could also look at a ticket surcharge as a possible funding method for the fund as well.

A vote will take place Thursday.

By Christie Post

Austin Council Considering Special Events Fund

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