CAMERON COUNTY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The proposal to authorize a venue tax to fund a portion of the proposed Cameron County Arena is receiving mixed reactions throughout the county.
Some residents told ValleyCentral that they feel the arena would be beneficial for entertainment and local businesses.
Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. addressed several of the community’s concerns.
“This proposition is basically a yay or nay vote authorizing the use of the venue tax which consists of the hotel-motel and car rental taxes. Use that revenue stream to pay for a portion of the project,” said Treviño.
The first run on the ballot was last November and it fell short by 55 votes, according to Treviño, but he said he is confident people are standing behind the project.
“There is no plan at all to utilize any type of general fund or property tax revenues for this project,” he said.
He said he is hoping the developer and venue taxes will pay 15% to 30% of the project but added that additional funds could be used through public-private partnerships and by additional public funding through potential state and federal grants.
“I want to make clear that the county cannot spend and does not spend any public funds to advocate one way or the other,” he said.
One group of supporters has been using social media and other avenues to promote the proposed project and the Cameron County Republican Party is concerned about their process.
“In their most recent campaign finance report, which covered the time period of March 1st and Mar 28th, they reported spending and receiving no money whatsoever,” said the general counsel for the Cameron County Republican Party, Mark McCaig.
He added that after investigating the group behind the campaign, questions about the project and its transparency were raised.
“We don’t know that this arena will be able to pay for itself. I think there’s a lot of evidence out there that points to the fact that it probably won’t be. Those operating losses in all likelihood would have to be borne by the Cameron County taxpayer…I think the voters need to reject it once again,” he said.
He said that with their discoveries about the campaign and some unanswered questions, there is uncertainty about the project’s economic viability and its outcome.
“It should be a community issue as opposed to an election issue. We think it’s a win-win for the community and we hope that the residents and voters of Cameron County will support it,” said Treviño.
Early voting is from April 25 to May 3 and election day is May 7.