Leander teams up with Chamber of Commerce to promote tourism

The Leander Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center is located in Old Town Leander at 100 North Brushy St., Leander.

The Leander Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center is located in Old Town Leander at 100 North Brushy St., Leander.

With Leander’s first hotel scheduled to open this fall, the city will soon have hotel occupancy tax revenue to help promote tourism—and it is employing the help of the Leander Chamber of Commerce.

An agreement approved Aug. 1 will provide the Chamber of Commerce with a portion of the city’s hotel occupancy tax, or HOT tax, funds to promote tourism and other activities allowed by state law.

“The majority of that money will be spent advertising Leander as a destination to put people into that hotel,” said Bridget Brandt, president and CEO of the chamber. “That hotel’s success will really be the linchpin into: Will we be getting other hotels?”

The city’s first hotel, Holiday Inn Express & Suites-Leander is an 84-room hotel opening at 247 W. Metro Drive this fall.

In Texas, hotel owners, operators or managers must collect hotel taxes from guests, according to the Texas Comptroller website. The city of Leander’s HOT tax rate is 7%, and the state’s rate is 6%. By law, a city’s HOT tax revenue must be used to promote tourism.

Brandt said the chamber already works to advertise the city, particularly its festivals and events, but the funds will help the chamber promote the city on a broader scale. Brandt said in addition to advertising, a small percentage of the revenue can be used on historical preservation and art.

An agreement like this is common for smaller communities, she said.

“Rather than the city having to hire staff to execute these funds at this point, it makes sense [for the chamber] to continue that work,” Brandt said.

Brandt said the chamber plans to set up a tourism board made up of people in the community, such as people working in tourism, city staff and people involved in the chamber.

Leander City Council voted 5-0 to approve the agreement with the chamber, with council members Michelle Stephenson and Christine Sederquist absent. The contract states the chamber will receive 75% of the city’s HOT tax revenue on a downward sliding scale as funds increase.

By keeping a portion of its HOT tax revenue, the city can still use the funds to promote tourism in other ways if it deems necessary, city spokesperson Mike Neu said.

Each year, the chamber will report on its activities and present a proposed plan of work to Leander City Council for the next fiscal year. The agreement lasts for five years beginning Oct. 1 and is renewable for two successive 5-year terms, according to city documents.

By Marisa Charpentier

Reporter, Cedar Park | Leander

Marisa Charpentier joined Community Impact in September 2018. After working as an intern, she became a reporter for the Cedar Park | Leander edition in October 2018. Charpentier graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with degrees in journalism and Plan II Honors.


A photo of the potential Tesla property
Travis County updates Tesla incentive package, pushing for $1 billion-plus investment from the company

Poised for a possible July 13 vote, Travis County has released a refined incentives structure proposal with electric carmaker Tesla.

The Williamson County and Cities Health District confirmed 37 additional coronavirus cases July 10, bringing the total to 3,654. (Community Impact Staff)
37 new cases of coronavirus, 1 death confirmed in Williamson County on July 10

Currently, 103 patients are hospitalized, 32 are in intensive care and 16 are on a ventilator.

The species that tested positive for West Nile Virus is Culex quinquefasciatus, or the southern house mosquito. This species has a flight range of about one mile. ​(Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile Virus near southwest Williamson County Regional Park

There have been no reported human cases of West Nile Virus in Williamson County since 2017.

Williamson County sees 844 new coronavirus cases this week

Between July 4 and July 10, Williamson County also reported 9 additional deaths.

Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced in a June 30 State Board of Education meeting that students will be taking the STAAR in the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Pixabay)
Education organizations call for STAAR requirements to be waived another year

Gov. Greg Abbott waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, testing requirements in March of earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With a clinical background in internal, pulmonary and critical care medicine, Corry has been with BCM for 20 years. He now focuses primarily on inflammatory lung diseases, such as asthma and smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. (Graphic by Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. David Corry discusses immunity, vaccine production amid COVID-19 pandemic

Rapid development and distribution of a vaccine worldwide and successful achievement of herd immunity will be key players in determining the lifespan of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr. David Corry, a professor of Medicine in the Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology Section at Baylor College of Medicine.

The new partnership will provide on-site, same-day testing and results for assisted-living facility staff and their residents. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
State announces partnership for increased COVID-19 testing for patients, staff at assisted-living facilities, nursing homes

These test sites will help the state work toward the goal of processing up to 100,000 tests in the first month.

DATA: Leander sales tax revenue jumped 40% in May; Cedar Park stayed steady

Leander sales tax revenue spiked 40% in May 2020 compared to May 2019 data.

Cedar Park OKs $61.5M in 3 ordinances for bonds, certificates of obligation

The bonds and certificates of obligation will fund the planned library, parks, street improvements, drainage projects and the Brushy Creek wastewater plant expansion.

A photo of Del Valle ISD's Cardinal stadium
Del Valle ISD approves Tesla incentives, paving way for possible Travis County agreement

The school district's July 9 vote could yield Tesla around $46.4 million in tax abatements if the company chooses Travis County as its next factory site.

Williamson County reported 175 additional cases of coronavirus July 9. (Screenshot courtesy Williamson County)
175 cases of coronavirus, 2 deaths confirmed in Williamson County on July 9

The Williamosn County and Cities Health District reported 23% of hospital beds and 9% of ICU beds are available.

Travis County has had 13,864 total confirmed coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic as of July 9. (Community Impact staff)
Travis County tops 700 new COVID-19 cases for second straight day July 9

Travis County has had 13,864 total confirmed coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic.