Bee Cave could become a lot more specific regarding plans for money in city coffers that by law may only be used to promote tourism.
During its June 25 meeting, every City Council member endorsed an idea from the Bee Cave Chamber of Commerce and local hotel owner Adrian Overstreet to create a nonprofit corporation called the Bee Cave Convention and Visitor Bureau, or BCCV, which will help manage the city’s hotel occupancy tax fund.
Specifically, council voted unanimously to direct staff to proceed with the structure and organizational language, and contract for the proposed BCCV bureau for council consideration and possible action at a future meeting.
Mayor Monty Parker said if the contract is ready in time, the next action on creation of the BCCV could take place at council’s first meeting in August.
Currently sitting at about $2.1 million, Bee Cave’s hotel tax fund is legally restricted to allocations that are solely for tourism and the hotel and convention industry. The creation of the nonprofit by the chamber placed approval of any expenditures of those monies in the hands of a BCCV-created supervisory board.
Overstreet said once a deal is brokered between the chamber and the city, the BCCV would request the bulk of the Bee Cave’s hotel occupancy tax fund to manage, leaving an amount of money he estimated to be at a couple hundred thousand dollars to stay in the city’s management, though no specified amounts have yet been set.
Information from the city states the BCCV board of directors for the purposes of formation will consist of Courtney Bunte, John Dallas and Overstreet, who owns the Sonesta Bee Cave Austin Hotel, and the initial officers for the purposes of formation will consist of Bunte as president, Dallas as vice president.
“We will have elaborate controls in this organization,” Overstreet said to council. “There are just so many opportunities to get people here to the town and then show them what to do.”
During his presentation to council, Overstreet said he envisioned an agreement with the city to create the BCCV to be renewable each year.
Overstreet said two more hotels are slated to be built in Bee Cave, adding to opportunities to both grow the city’s hotel tax fund and allocate more money to draw tourism.
Eventually, the BCCV’s board will consist of five directors to be chosen by the Bee Cave Chamber of Commerce, according to information provided by the chamber, and the bylaws state BCCV board members may increase or decrease in number as the chamber dictates.
An outline for the creation of the BCCV states a second body called the supervisory board will consist of two chamber members appointed by the BCCV board, two City Council members selected by the mayor or City Council as a whole, a minimum of two members of the city’s hospitality industry chosen by hotels paying hotel occupancy taxes to Bee Cave, and one non-voting citizen advisory member appointed by the chamber.
“If a hotel collects between 10-20% of the yearly tax it will be entitled to appoint one member,” city information states. “If a hotel collects over 20% of the yearly tax it will be entitled to appoint two members.”
The outline stipulates the Bee Cave city manager will also serve as a non-voting advisory member.
Mayor Pro Tem Bill Goodwin said he endorsed the formation of the BCCV largely because it provides a body that will take the burden of making difficult decisions regarding project funding.
Other mandates within the chamber’s outline state City Council will approve an annual budget of the BCCV as recommended by its supervisory board, the supervisory board will approve all expenditures of the BCCV coming from hotel tax funds and 15% of the funds should be devoted to the arts as they pertain to drawing tourism.
Representatives from public relations firm The PR Boutique, which is working with the Bee Cave Chamber of Commerce, also made a presentation to council in support of the creation of the BCCV, and highlighted a new marketing campaign for the city entitled “See what the buzz is about.”
Building a new website to showcase local businesses and help people plan their trip to Bee Cave will constitute a large chunk of the new tourism campaign for the city, the representatives said, as well as selling merchandise such as clothing and mugs and various forms of advertising.