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City Reports Increase in 2011-2012 Hotel-Motel Tax Revenue

An increase in visitors to Wichita Falls makes things rosier no only for local businesses, but city budget planners as well.
    Those who stay overnight in City of Wichita Falls hotels and motels pay a tax, and that money is used to fund improvements, promotions and activities that encourage tourism and visitation.
    Jim Dockery, assistant city manager and CFO, says, "The tax here locally is 13-percent.  Seven of that goes to the City of Wichita Falls and six of it goes to the State of Texas."
    In last year's budget, officials estimated the city would gain about $1.47 million from the tax.
    The city actually received $1.6 million, so that's a gain of $140-thousand, or about 10-percent.
    "A lot of the funds go toward supporting the Multi-Purpose Event Center and subsidizing that operation because obviously it's the biggest facility that we have that helps with tourism," Dockery says.
    Of last year's sales, MPEC Executive Director Bob Sullivan says, "We did well.  It's always a challenge for us to sell tickets.  All of our revenues are based on ticket sales and people attending events, so it's always a challenge for us to get people out to events.
    In fiscal year 2011-2012, officials projected $1.8 million in MPEC revenue, but got about $185-thousand less than that.
    MPEC operating costs though, were less than anticipated, so that made up for some of the drop.
    Expenses ended up nearly $39-thousand less than budgeted.
    The MPEC is subsidized by the city and the hotel-motel tax, but Sullivan says the MPEC might be self-sustaining if more events were sold out, or even close to selling out.
    "We always try to do as much as we can in terms of bringing people in to events," Sullivan says.  "We certainly hope people in the community support events we bring in.  The more people that come out for events, the more events we can bring in."
    There are a lot of fun events coming to the MPEC in the next couple weeks.
    The Harlem Globetrotters will be there one week from today, tickets for the Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert concert at the go on sale Friday, and the Teen Choice Live Tour is coming to the falls the beginning of next month.
    While there, you'll get to meet 2012 Olympic gymnastics gold medalists Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber.
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