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Willow Park

Council meeting

City to use HOT funds for billboard advertising


The billboard near Willow Park City Hall is now a HOT topic.

At its meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 28, the Willow Park City Council approved the use of hotel occupancy taxes (HOT) to pay for advertising on the billboard situated to the southeast corner of City Hall, which is at 120 El Chico Tr.

Mayor Pro Tem Lea Young had proposed to the council and city staff that they find ways in which the city’s HOT could practically and legally be put to good use.

So, city staff contacted Lamar Billboards to inquire about rental of the sign. They learned that the cost to rent it is $31,680 per side on an annual basis, billed in four 13-week installments, including the initial cost of $480 for artwork. Thereafter, each time the city requests a change in artwork, it would cost an additional $480.

“I think the only way to justify the expense (of the billboard) is to use the HOT tax,” Young said, urging council and staff to come up with ideas on what should be promoted on the billboard.

Place 3 Council Member Greg Runnebaum added, “I can see this being used for golf tournaments, football games, a lot of things.”

The lease on the westbound sign is set to expire on Feb. 11, with a priority for renewal. The eastbound sign was originally believed to be available on Nov. 11, but it appears that contract has been extended and city officials believe the westbound sign serves the city better.

So council approved funds for the westbound sign when it does become available and the contract with Lamar would begin on that date. 

“I’d like for us to consider doing this for 12 months. We’ve got to get in line,” Mayor Doyle Moss told the council before the official vote.

City Attorney Pat Chesser reminded the council if HOT is used for the billboard it has to be to promote tourism.

“In other words, you’ve got to put heads in beds,” he said.

City Manager Bryan Grimes noted that the HOT fund is currently almost $500,000 and is growing at a rate of $21,000 per month from the city’s two hotels. He added that another hotel or two is likely coming in the future.

“This fund is just going to keep getting bigger and bigger,” he said.

City staff has also looked into buying the sign, though Lamar rarely sells their billboards. However, the city was approached with a proposal to replace the current sign with a digital one.

Doing so would require a 25-year lease to allow the conversion. It would also come with some perks for the city, such as discounted advertising costs, negotiable advertising revenue (tentatively, 10% in perpetuity for the 25-year term), and “branding of the pole,” an opportunity for a city monument without the digital display cost which staff research showed could cost over $300,000.

Next steo for Country Hollow

The next step in the development of the Country Hollow residential subdivision is taking place after the council voted to approve a community facilities/developers agreement. The subdivision will be serviced by Willow Park’s public water and sewer, and contains public infrastructure and improvements, which will be maintained by the City of Willow Park.

This agreement provides terms for construction of public improvements and utility services, as well as other requirements.

EDA Extension

The council voted to extend its economic development agreement with UNCO RE Holdings, LLC and BPO Real Estate, LLC. This is concerning construction of the Standard Service Restaurant on the south side of Interstate 20 to the west of Willow Park Trinity Christian Academy.

The original agreement was entered on Dec. 10, 2021. One subsection of that agreement has now been extended from the original 24 months to 40 months, with a second subsection extended from 30 to 46 months.


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