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Council approves funds for Ethiopian sports event

by | Mar 23, 2023 | Latest

Using a surplus of hotel occupancy tax funds, Wylie councilmembers paved the way to host a soccer tournament and culture festival hosted by the Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America (ESFNA).

A resolution authorizing the city manager and mayor to negotiate a contract to host a soccer tournament and festival was considered during the Tuesday, March 14, meeting. 

Deputy City Manager Renae Ollie said the city currently has around $500,000 in unused hotel occupancy tax funds, $100,000 of which will support the hosting of the event. Funds can be used for promoting public art or enhancing facilities for a sporting event, among other uses, in addition to bringing people into the city..

“If you have an event and it’s bringing people to your town, you can use that fund,” Ollie said. “As long as you meet the first part and one of the nine, you can use these funds.”

When collecting the 14% hotel occupancy tax, 7% goes to the city while the remaining 7% is collected by the state.

Zewge Kagnew, a representative of the ESFNA board, informed council that Wylie would host the 40th iteration of its soccer tournament and Ethiopian culture festival that will include food vendors and a fashion showcase. The organization was founded in 1984 and is a nonprofit dedicated to promoting cross-cultural dialogue and soccer.

Estimated attendance across the weeklong tournament from July 2-8 is expected to be between 30,000 and 40,000 people, said Kagnew, adding that it could be the largest attendance yet.

“We expect attendance from local communities in addition to supporters across the United States, Canada, Africa and Europe,” Kagnew said.

While the ESFNA is usually able to cover expenses for hosting the event, higher than projected costs required asking the city for the $100,000 contribution. Revenue estimates provided during the hearing ranged between $5 million and $10 million or exceeding $15 million, depending on attendance.

Council voted to authorize the mayor and city manager to negotiate a contract with the ESFNA to host the event and contribute $100,000 from a hotel occupancy tax fund.

For the full story, see the March 22 issue of The Wylie News.

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