City of Marfa accepting HOT grant applications through October 7 – The Big Bend Sentinel


MARFA – The City of Marfa is accepting grant applications for Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) grants, which must meet certain criteria, by October 7 for events taking place October 1 through March 31, 2023.

The city distributes HOT funds through three main categories – arts and culture, historic preservation and advertising reimbursement. Generally, the money is awarded to events and projects that promote the local tourism and hotel and accommodation industries, putting “the head to bed”, said Abby Boyd, director of tourism from the city of Marfa who sits on the HOT grants committee.

“I will do my best to guide people to the best options for completing their applications and answering any questions they may have,” Boyd said. “The committee meets and we decide on a recommendation to give to the city council, and then the city council finally decides what the grants should be.”

The town is limited by law on how it can spend HOT taxpayers’ money, but discussions within Marfa Town Council are ongoing on ways to leverage the valuable source of revenue more creative, and a meeting held earlier this year revealed that local citizens were also interested in seeking other uses for the funds. Over the past two years, the city has collected approximately $700,000 in HOT taxes per year.

The committee meets and releases funds twice per fiscal year. Arts and culture applicants can receive up to $8,000 and advertising reimbursements can be issued up to $3,500. In the past, money for historic preservation projects funded by HOT taxes was usually already allocated during the city’s budgeting process, Boyd said, for the Marfa County Museum Building and Presidio, for example, or renovations to the Marfa Volunteer Fire Department (which, due to its appeal as a tourist attraction, may have received funds for renovations in the past).

Uniquely, two local events regularly receive historic preservation funds – Chinati Weekend and Marfa Lights Festival – both of which were founded in 1987. Blackwell School is also set to receive $5,000 per year for four years, a total of $20,000, per a previous agreement. with the city.

For advertising reimbursements, either direct financing or the use of a facility can be agreed. If you advertise locally, only a portion of the funds will be reimbursed, while advertising to bring overnight guests to the area will be fully reimbursed, Boyd said.

“What the advertising grant is for is that you advertise outside of the tri-county area to people who will be traveling to Marfa, staying in hotels for your events,” Boyd said.

In addition to arts and cultural events that attract foreigners, multi-day sporting events may qualify for HOT tax subsidies, Boyd said. Last year, HOT grant recipients included Ballroom Marfa, In Front of Us Film Series, Agave Festival, The Marfa and Presidio County Museum, Marfa Invitational, Marfa 100, and more.

Applicants do not need to be a 501c3 to receive a HOT grant and are not required to be located within the city limits. The city requires all grant recipients to display the city logo on their website and publicity materials.

Boyd said there are a few criteria the committee looks favorably on when reviewing applications, such as adding data on attendance and hotel stays from previous years’ events, publicity plans and event budgets. In general, events that take place over multiple days and require visitors to stay in town are more likely to be funded, she said, as are those with reasonable budgets.

“Since there are so many events happening throughout the year, we want people to ask for a realistic amount. We don’t want it to be the kind of thing where your event is completely dependent on the city, but if it’s the kind of thing where the city can help make your event an event and it meets all the requirements , so that’s great,” Boyd said.

Those with questions about the HOT grants should contact them before the Oct. 7 deadline, Boyd said.

Information and applications can be found at Completed applications can be sent to [email protected] no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, October 7. For questions or more information contact Abby Boyd, [email protected].


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