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Nonprofit groups seek hotel tax funds

DAVID TEWES

By DAVID TEWES
Dec. 5, 2010 at 6:05 a.m.
Updated Dec. 8, 2010 at 6:08 a.m.

Nina Di Leo with the Victoria Bach Festival said her group's request to the city for $15,000 in hotel tax money is more than just a plea for dollars.

"Obviously the monetary value is considerable for a nonprofit in our economic climate," she said. "But equally important is the recognition from the city, which helps us to leverage funds from other organizations."

It's a show of local support the festival needs to convince other agencies the Bach Festival is also worthy of their financial support, she said.

The Bach Festival is one of eight nonprofit groups that have applied this year for hotel tax money from the city. The city council will meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Council Chamber at 107 W. Juan Linn St. to consider those requests.

The city estimates there will be about $1.256 million in hotel tax money available for the current fiscal year.

The city council has already allocated $750,000 to the Victoria Convention and Visitors Bureau, $184,950 to the Victoria Community Center and $65,050 to the Main Street program.

That leaves $256,474. Requests from the nonprofit applicants total $202,573.

"But we also still have to allocate a reserve," Council Member Gabriel Soliz said. "Then, I think whatever is left we should go ahead and allocate by a percentage."

That reserve is a pot of funds that can be used for unexpected problems, such as keeping the community center operating if hotel tax income slips.

Gilbert P. Reyna Jr., the city's finance director, has said it costs about $31,000 a month just to keep the community center in business.

Mayor Will Armstrong said he's eager to see how the rest of the council responds to the requests from the nonprofit groups.

"I feel certain we will fund these requests," he said. "To what extent I don't know."

Mayor Pro Tem Paul Polasek said he's still studying the funding details. "I want to look over their applications a little more closely."

Corrected: Dec. 8, 2010

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