AUSTIN, Texas — Come November, voters will decide on whether the county should make renovations at the Travis County Exposition Center in East Austin.
According to the Travis County ballot, Travis County's Proposition A would authorize the county to renovate and finance new and existing facilities at the exposition center, including a multipurpose arena and sports facilities. If passed, the proposition would impose a new hotel occupancy tax on the occupancy of a room in Travis County hotels. That rate would not exceed 2% of the price paid for the room, according to the ballot.
At a press conference Oct. 9, Rodeo Austin argued that, if passed, the proposition would result in significant investments in East Austin and new jobs. Rodeo Austin's annual rodeo in March is held at the exposition center.
Rob Golding, Rodeo Austin CEO, said at the press conference that the two weeks of Rodeo Austin's operation in March brings the city $77 million and 290,000 tourists. The organization also has a scholarship program for students seeking funding for their college education.
"The vote will mean more scholarship money, more jobs and more events at a redeveloped expo center," Golding said. "A 'yes' is a long-overdue economic shot in the arm for East Austin."
Travis County Commissioner Jeff Travillion said at the event that passage of the proposition would build jobs and give East Austin children access to programs.
"All of Austin doesn't live downtown, most of Austin doesn't live downtown," Travillian said. "It is only practical to put these resources where the people are and partner with community groups that will really build the community."
Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said renovations are desperately needed at the exposition center.
"One of the rules of government is that we spread the wealth," Eckhardt said. "We are really struggling to meet the expectations of visitors to the expo center in its current state."
You can find the ballot for Nov. 5 here. Early voting runs from Oct. 21 through Nov. 1.
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