Following concerns regarding the use of hotel occupancy tax funds, Bastrop City Council has moved to install a task force to oversee their use.

The new task force will evaluate the best means of using hotel tax funds. A resolution installing the task force will be made at the April 9 City Council meeting.

How we got here

Visit Bastrop hotel tax expenses have been revisited as part of an investigation, and the organization's approval of a 2023 event was part of discussions for the need of further oversight.

A Boy Love Fan Meet and Convention was held at the Bastrop Hampton Inn and Suites last June. The hosting group applied for Visit Bastrop funding and was approved.

A retrospective review conducted by City Manager Sylvia Carrillo found inaccuracies—including an incorrect number of hotel rooms occupied—in a Visit Bastrop report that was approved by the organization’s former CEO Susan Smith. Hotel tax fund applications are solely reviewed by Visit Bastrop and not the city of Bastrop, Carrillo said.

What they're saying

Following a closed meeting on the issue, council member Cheryl Lee raised concerns in open session that scrutinizing the use of funds for an LGBTQ+ event was discriminatory.

“We are not here to represent our political party; we are not here to represent our religion. These people are people,” Lee said. “They are people that live in this community.”

Carrillo as well as council members Cynthia Meyer and Jimmy Crouch maintained that concerns around funding the event were not in regards to the sexual orientation of the host group.

“So you can stand there and make it an LGBTQ community comments, but the reality is ... [Visit Bastrop’s] lack of oversight and their lack of audit based on the audit results and the blatant disregard for public funds and public taxpayer dollars is why we are here today,” Carrillo said.