The Rosenberg Railroad Museum brings a lot of visitors to the city, making it the perfect candidate to receive Hotel Occupancy Tax funds. At the Rosenberg City Council meeting Tuesday, council members agreed to award the museum $40,000 in HOT funds for its education station renovation project.
The museum, located at 1921 Ave. F, is a nonprofit organization.
HOT funds are derived from the tax paid by customers of hotels. Interim Economic Development Director Jeremy Heath explained that when people come from outside the city and stay in one of the 13 hotels in Rosenberg, a percentage of what they pay goes into the HOT fund. The HOT fund currently has $575,000.
Council member Kevin Raines asked what the criteria is to earn a piece of the HOT fund.
“The biggest factor is if you’re going to put heads in beds,” Heath said. “But when you have entities that are art-related or classify as museums, they automatically qualify for funding.”
According to railroad museum president Greg Cauthen, the museum brings in more than 20,000 guests annually.
Early this year, Cauthen said 7% of museum guests are from Rosenberg. More than 50 percent come from the rest of Fort Bend County, 30 percent travel from the greater Houston area and 13 percent have visited from all over the world.
“This funding is crucial to this organization,” Mayor Bill Benton said. “They’re not going to be able to (finish the project) if we cannot help them out.”
The rest of council agreed.
“The Rosenberg Railroad Museum does a great job at presenting our history and making sure it’s available for future generations to see where Rosenberg came from,” council member Jacob Balderas said. “This education center is going to enrich the lives of a lot of children. “This is a great thing and $40,000 is not enough. You guys deserve more for all that you do in the community. We want to keep y’all around for as long as possible.”
Council member Isaac Davila made a motion to grant $40,000 to the museum. The motion was seconded by council member Lisa Wallingford and passed unanimously.