Original plan for convention and visitor bureau in Bee Cave scrapped; new plan in the works

Adrian Overstreet presented plans for the creation of a convention and visitor bureau during the June 25 Bee Cave City Council meeting.

Adrian Overstreet presented plans for the creation of a convention and visitor bureau during the June 25 Bee Cave City Council meeting.

An agreement that was nearly brokered between the city of Bee Cave and the Bee Cave Chamber of Commerce will no longer move forward, as the chamber withdrew its application to create a convention and visitor bureau that would oversee the management of the lion's share of the city's hotel tax fund, which is now well over $2 million.

Even though City Council tabled an item on the creation of the convention and visitor bureau following executive session of a Sept. 24 meeting, parties on both sides still seemed poised to move forward with the original agreement once the deal had been tweaked.

During that meeting, Mayor Monty Parker said there are still many more details to work out before an agreement can move forward, and the agenda item would be brought forth at a future meeting.

Adrian Overstreet, who owns the Sonesta Bee Cave Austin hotel and helped lead the monthslong effort alongside the Bee Cave chamber to create a nonprofit corporation called the Bee Cave Convention and Visitor Bureau, said Oct. 7 the chamber had withdrawn its application days after the late September City Council decision postponed advancement of the deal.

"The contracts just got more complicated, and it became apparent that there was going to be substantial liability for the chamber," Overstreet said. "The city needed to protect its interest, and I don't begrudge that, but we're an all-volunteer organization, and we don't have any staff."

Overstreet said he has another way to address snags created by the initial deal, and he and the chamber should be able to introduce a new plan to city officials within about 10 days, though he could not speculate on when that plan might appear on a City Council agenda.

On Oct. 7, Bee Cave City Manager Clint Garza said under some of the terms of the original agreement, the Bee Cave Chamber might have had to reformulate away from its current all-volunteer organizational structure.

"I still expect to see applications from [the chamber] for use of [hotel tax] funds to come before the council, but as far as the way that [original agreement] looked, it just won't be the same," Garza said. "As far as [the chamber] creating a 501 (c)(6) and administering the funds on our behalf, it's just unwieldy."

Garza said essentially an agreement has been postponed until the city and the chamber can construct a more functional deal that better services both entities, but no date is yet set for when that might come again before council.

Per the terms of the original one-year agreement between the city of Bee Cave and the convention and visitor bureau, the entity would have managed 85% of the city’s future hotel occupancy tax fund collections as well as 85% of the money already in the reserve funds.

The BCCV’s board was to consist of five directors to be chosen by the Bee Cave Chamber of Commerce, and the original agreement that outlined the creation of the BCCV stated a second body called the supervisory board would have consisted 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 nonvoting citizen advisory member appointed by the chamber.

Council first publicly endorsed the creation of the BCCV when Overstreet presented the proposal during its June 25 meeting.

At that meeting, 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.”

Overstreet said elements from that promotional campaign will not change as the new plan is formulated.

"I'm not casting stones at anybody, and I think we'll get there," Overstreet said. "Sometimes you just have to back up and try again in a little bit of a different way."
By Brian Rash

Brian has been a reporter and editor since 2012. He wrote about the music scene in Dallas-Fort Worth before becoming managing editor for the Graham Leader in Graham, Texas, in 2013. He relocated to Austin, Texas, in 2015 to work for Gatehouse Media's large design hub. He became the editor for the Lake Travis-Westlake publication of Community Impact in August 2018.


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