Alice City Council discusses YMCA natatorium contract, new grant process for HOT funds

Robin Bradshaw
Alice Echo News Journal

The Alice City Council renewed a YMCA contract between the city and the natatorium at its Tuesday, Nov. 16 meeting.

Also, the council discussed an overhaul of the Convention and Visitors Bureau grant application process under the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) funds. 

The one-year contract between the YMCA of the Coastal Bend and the Alice Multi-Use Nataroium reached its year obligations and is now in negotiations  for a two-year contract. 

"The YMCA and the city have a good working relationship and the city is negotiating the contract with some minor changes," said City Manager Michael  Esparza.

Minor changes to the contract would include the YMCA taking on responsibility for the small ticket repairs under $2,500. The pool also would be open a minimum of 3-4 days a week and lap swim would be open to the community on a regular basis. 

"Centerpoint is breaking ground to install a gas line the natatorium will be able to access instead of absorbing the cost for propane to keep the pool warm and that is just one of the moving parts both entities are looking at as we enter into a longer-term contract at this time," Esparza said. 

Local students got the chance to get swimming lessons in at the City of Alice Multi-Use Complex and Natatorium.

Councilmembers Pete Crisp and Robert Molina added a new grant application process for HOT funds to the agenda at Tuesday's meeting. The new Convention and Visitors Bureau grant application's main goal is to attract visitors to Alice to help in efforts to increase hotel occupancy and stimulate the economy. 

"This new policy is about accountability, responsibility and making sure the funds are being used for the right purpose," Crisp said. "The previous application process was vague and a single sheet application. The new policy will help the city plan better during the annual budget process and be more specific on exactly what events are bringing in revenue and filling up hotel rooms."

The new HOT fund policies for the current 2021-2022 budget year will include a grant for nonprofit event organizers with a reduced cap amount of $5,000 and the money will be disbursed on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

The HOT fund policy grant process for the following year will include a registration time frame in June. At that time, applications will be accepted or denied depending on the met criteria. Once accepted the grant applicants can submit their paperwork, present to the council their plan for future events, and depending on the total hotel occupancy the city will offer the awarded grant funding. 

"Alice did not invent the wheel on these policies we are adopting a similar outline of what other cities do to follow the guidelines intended for the best use of these type funds," Crisp added. 

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