Extraco Events Center proposal

A rendering shows a proposed layout for the overhaul of the Extraco Events Center.

Extraco Events Center image

A venue tax McLennan County voters approved over the summer is on track to bring the county an average of $2 million a year, County Judge Scott Felton said Tuesday.

The county started collecting the 5 percent tax on short-term car rentals July 1 and the 2 percent hotel occupancy tax Aug. 1. Voters agreed to the new taxes in May with 67.4 percent approval.

The taxes will pay for a $34.4 million overhaul of the Extraco Events Center site, and during their meeting Tuesday, county commissioners authorized 1519 Surveying LLC to start boundary survey work for project.

There a lot of moving parts to the project, with the county, the city of Waco and Waco Independent School District owning parts of the 60-acre site County Attorney Mike Dixon said. The entities also plan to swap property as part of the overhaul, and the boundaries need to be identified before plans can move forward, Dixon said.

“The initial problem is lack of good information on property already there,” Dixon said. “This is sort of the first step in the process before we can really go much further. We need to know what we have. The next step, which we’ll probably bring you pretty soon, is the design step.”

Felton said about $500,000 has been collected from the venue taxes since collections started.

County leaders plan to issue a bond this fiscal year for as much of the $34.4 million as needed to cover construction costs for the project as money builds in the venue tax fund. Proposals for renovation at the site include, among other work, adding a $14 million, 800-square-foot multipurpose center connected to the existing coliseum, and rebuilding Waco ISD’s Paul Tyson Field and the city’s Lake Air Little League facilities.

Cassie L. Smith has covered county government for the Tribune-Herald since June 2014. She previously worked as a reporter for the Beaumont Enterprise and The Eagle in Bryan-College Station. Smith graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington.

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