Following negotiations between the City of Kingsville and Texas A&M University-Kingsville, the Kingsville City Commission recently approved a new interlocal agreement between the two entities changing the city’s funding contribution to the John E. Conner Museum.

The two-year agreement will provide $40,000 from Hotel Occupancy Tax, or HOT, revenues to the museum for Fiscal Year 2019, followed by $30,000 for FY 2020, as well as the option to apply for additional arts funding through the HOT Advisory Board.

The previous agreement, which had been in place since 1979, provided funding through monthly payments to the museum equal to 14.285 percent of the City of Kingsville’s HOT revenues. For FY 2018, that contribution amount is nearly $86,000.

In May, the HOT Advisory Board convened and recommended lowering the contribution to the Conner Museum to a flat rate of $30,000 per fiscal year, which equates to about 5 percent, contingent upon HOT revenues reaching $600,000.

In addition, the advisory board recommended reserving 5 percent of HOT revenues for Art and Historical funding requests by groups and organizations that contribute to increased hotel occupancy.

The changes would, according to minutes from the board meeting, “help to diversify arts spending and reduce Tourism’s dependence on the fund balance.”

On June 10, the Kingsville City Commission authorized entering into negotiations with TAMUK to revise the 40-year-old memorandum of understanding.

As part of the new agreement, as reciprocation for the funding, the Conner Museum will participate in “at least two city-sponsored festivals, such as the Ranch Hand Festival and the Festival de la Loteria.”

Also per the agreement, TAMUK will provide the city manager on a quarterly basis a statement accounting for expenditures made from HOT revenues. The city manager also has “the right to inspect all books and records of TAMUK with respect to the Hotel Occupancy Tax funds used by TAMUK on behalf of the Conner Museum.”

The interlocal agreement will be in effect through Aug. 25, 2021. However, it can be terminated “at any time by any party with or without cause” upon 60 days advance written notice. The city commission unanimously approved the new agreement during its Aug. 26 regular meeting.

Anthony Ruiz can be contacted at aruiz@king-ranch.com or (361) 221-0251.

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