Groups line up for hotel-motel tax funds

Tejas Festival, Kay Foundation among applicants; lack of quorum prevents action

Several groups are prepared to step into the void created when the Chamber of Commerce board declined to continue administering Rockdale’s hotel-motel tax.

Representatives of the Tejas Book & Art Festival were at Monday’s city council session to ask the city for funding to keep that annual spring event going in 2013 with the help of those tax funds.

The council was also to hear funding requests from the Kay Theatre Foundation, Rockdale Historical Society and the Chamber itself which wants some of the funds it formerly administered to keep the organization going in 2013.

NO QUORUM—But none of the items got acted upon Monday.

At the 5:30 p.m. starting time only four of the seven council members were present— Toby Johnson, Colby Fisher, Joyce Dalley and Melody Dawson.

Absent were council members Doug Calame and Willie Phillips and Mayor Larry Jones. (A quorum under the city charter is two-thirds, or five of the seven members.)

Dr. Jones, a dentist, became involved in a late dental emergency and contacted City Mgr. Kelvin Knauf.

Finally, after waiting for more than 45 minutes, the meeting was canceled for lack of a quorum and will be rescheduled, possibly as soon as Monday (Dec. 17).

APPLICATIONS—Last month the Chamber board unanimously passed a resolution declining to administer the hotel-motel tax funds as has been traditional.

That left the status of a number of events, which have been funded by that tax, in doubt. The city quickly created an application form through which groups or individuals could apply. Five requests were on Monday’s agenda:

• Tejas Art and Book Festival, to fund the annual spring event which features artists, authors and more in the city library and other downtown venues.

• Kay Theatre Foundation, historical marker for the former theatre now being restored.

• Rockdale Historical Society, additional restoration of the I&GN Historical Depot.

• Rockdale Chamber of Commerce, operation of a visitor center (Chamber Rock House) and website.

NO PRESIDENT—Chamber chair Debra Jackson has said the organization will not seek to fill the position of Chamber president which has been vacant since the resignation of Deedra Jacob in October.

The city has taken initial steps toward forming a procedure to administer the tax which was recently returned to 7 percent from 5.5 percent.

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