The Lubbock County Commissioner's Court approved the proposed multipurpose arena for Lubbock and will let voters decide in the November ballot.
The County Judge signed a "Notice of Election and Order of Election to implement a new hotel occupancy tax" regarding construction of the multipurpose arena.
If approved by voters, the hotel occupancy tax will increase from 13 to 15 percent. This vote would not increase the county's property tax rate or the sales tax rate.
From July 9, 2018:
Commissioners met Monday and unanimously approved placing on the November ballet, a proposition which could fund the construction of a multipurpose arena that has been in the works.
Story from June, 26 2018:
A proposal is in the works to build an arena that can house dirt events. This comes just less than 2 months after the city voted to abandon the auditorium and coliseum and give it back to Texas Tech.
This facility would provide something Lubbock has never been able to do before.
Randy Jordan represents a grass roots group who is taking this initiative.
"We envision a venue center that will have an arena that we seat we hope around 6,000 people," Jordan said. "We envision having an exhibit hall that would be compatible to have all kinds of events."
In order to fund it, Jordan's asking Lubbock County Commissioners to consider using hotel/motel taxes. The current tax sits at 13 percent. Jordan wants to increase it by 2 percent. He claimed that will raise $2.7 million a year, then that money would be used in a bond to fund the facility.
John Osborne with the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance explained it is essentially asking the city to raise taxes for the 6 million visitors coming here each year.
"What we see if the majority of visitors when they spend the night, they're looking at that hotel rate, number one, the quality of the hotel and that location of that hotel as it relates to the activities that they're going to be doing in that area and they are rarely just looking at the hotel tax rate," Osborne said.
Osborne said most competing cities are already at a 15 percent hotel/motel tax rate.
"This is actually a really common practice, not just in Texas, but everywhere to increase the hotel, motel tax rate in order to help a venue out and that's what this proposed dirt floor arena is," Osborne said.
Jordan said once the State Comptroller approves their resolution, he will then formally propose to the commissioners court to put it to a county-wide vote.
"In this next 45 days, our group's really got to get on our ponies and get going to be able to come to the court and have them some renderings and have them a plan to say court, this is where we'd like to build it, this is what we'd like to build. Here's what our estimated costs are, and we ask you to take this to a vote of the people," Jordan said.
County Commissioner Bill McCay said if the public shows a groundswell of interest, it will make it to the ballot November.
"It's up the citizens, you know the citizens still run this country, they're regular folks who make up this country," McCay said. "So if this community gets behind it and supports it, then it'll pass."
Osborne said this venue could benefit Lubbock's economy in the long run.
"As a citizen you would want these events to come to your community cause of the tax dollars they leave as a result of shopping here, and eating out and spending the night help to fund things," Osborne said. "You get the benefit of that you don't have to fund with your property tax and your own sales taxes."
An independent third party would operate the facility that could house the ABC Pro Rodeo, Lubbock County Junior Livestock Show, equestrian events, and more.
The Commissioners Court will have to make a decision by August 20th for it to make the November ballot.