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County Council Gets Ideas on Spending Hotel Tax Money

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

Clayton, Mo. – Members of the St. Louis County Council heard suggestions Tuesday for how to spend surplus hotel tax revenue.

The council's revenue and personnel committee heard from about 10 different organizations including the Convention & Visitors Commission, and a group that wants to bring the 2006 Figure Skating Championships to town.

They all want a piece of a multimillion-dollar hotel-motel tax surplus. Voters passed a hotel tax increase in 1990 to help fund the Edward Jones Dome.

Marketer Ed Golterman says the money should be put toward the Kiel Opera House rather than sports facilities. "Rather than give the [visitor's comission] money to promote something, help reopen the Kiel Opera House, which can help promote itself, like Kennedy Center promotes itself. And that is a better use of tourism money."

Part of the surplus has been set aside for a new Cardinals Stadium, though formal plans for that have not yet been submitted.

Other ideas included building a skateboard park to funding the St. Louis Film Festival. Councilman Kurt Odenwald, the committee's chair, says the council is "trying to get the maximum value out of the dollars we're collecting from the Hotel-Motel tax, because that tax is supposed to be spent to promote tourism, and that's what we're going to do."