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Commissioners Court approves hotel tax grants

The Jefferson County commissioners have approved recommendations for the Fall 2018 Hotel Occupancy Tax Allocation.

The largest amount awarded was $62,693 to the Jefferson County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Ford Park received $50,000 for the Junior Cattle Show/Convention in 2020.

Out of the 31 grants requested, 30 were awarded to various groups to host events that will bring tourism to the county.

“We’re allowed to collect a hotel/motel tax, but we have to use the tax collected on tourism-related activities,” Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick said. “The Hotel Tax Tourism Commission makes recommendations on whom the grants will go to, and it has to be approved by commissioners’ court.”

The grants cover activities ranging from sports tournaments to museums and festivals. The awarded money generally covers costs related to the events and marketing outside of the Jefferson County to draw people in.

The most money requested was $104,552.50 for Ford Park Entertainment Complex, which was tabled. Of the $408,321.84 requested, $222,723.75 was awarded.

The commissioners also approved a resolution that will allow nutrition and services for senior citizens to apply for matching grant funds with state of Texas.

“The groups will take the resolution we passed and put it on their applications,” Branick said. “It’s a necessity for them to apply. It shows that they have the support of the commissioners and the resolution allows them to do it.

“We do that for several groups that would apply for grants. It’s just a way for the people who give the grants to know that there is community support for the organization.”

Tim Richardson, a consultant who has helped Branick set up meetings in Washington, D.C., regarding the BP Deepwater Horizon restoration, received an extension through May, which is when Branick said the project will enter the final stage of putting the sand on the beach.

“He has also helped us with the ship channel deepening project,” Branick said. “He also coordinates meetings with state representatives in Austin.”

The next commissioners’ court is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Monday at the Jefferson County Courthouse.