The Waco City Council declared its support Tuesday for a new public improvement district, the formation of which requires approval from the state Legislature.
The council unanimously approved a resolution urging the Legislature to allow Waco to set up the district, which would collect an estimated $1 million in assessments on hotel stays. The fund will be used for marketing efforts and incentive packages to attract organizations to the Waco Convention Center, Extraco Events Center, McLane Stadium and other event centers.
Tourism public improvement districts, or TPIDs, are active in Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington. San Antonio and Austin also have authorization to use them. The city of Dallas doubled the amount of conventions it hosted year over year after establishing a TPID, according to Scott Joslove, president and CEO of the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association.
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Joslove’s group has volunteered to guide the city through the process, which will formally start in January for the next state legislative session. District 3 Councilman John Kinnaird, the council liaison to the Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau board, has said he hopes one bill next year will include each town pursuing a TPID.
Ashley Nystrom, who handles legislative issues for the city, said preliminary discussions are underway with Waco’s state elected officials.
The Greater Waco Hotel Lodging Association has requested that Waco pursue the legislation. The TPID would apply to hotels with at least 75 rooms. Waco already has the highest hotel occupancy rate in the state, at 82.7 percent.