TACO’s Spring Meetings Underway in Kerrville
The Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) launched its Spring Meeting Sunday (April 28) with a legislative update that highlighted the association’s efforts to protect park operators from arbitrary utility fees and unfair taxation, while strengthening their ability to implement evictions, according to a news release.
“This session has been pretty good,” said Ron Hinkle, TACO’s legislative consultant, who joined TACO Executive Director and CEO Brian Schaeffer in outlining the association’s legislative initiatives during an afternoon meeting at Guadalupe River RV Resort in Kerrville. TACO’s legislative efforts include:
- House Bill 2152, which would prevent water utilities from arbitrarily assessing fees on RV parks on a site by site basis.
- Senate Bill 1268, which would amend several existing statutes that define an RV park to more accurately reflect “transient guests occupying recreational vehicles; and for which fees are paid at intervals of one day or longer.” The bill would also remove the words “recreational vehicle” and “recreational vehicle park” from Texas Property Code Section 94, which deals with manufactured home communities. “This is a concern to RV parks because Property Code Section 94 has undermined RV parks’ ability to implement evictions on the basis of “Theft of Service” or trespassing legislation that TACO has implemented through previous legislative sessions,” Schaeffer said. Once this legislation is approved, parks will need to use “service agreements” rather than “site rental agreements” to ensure that they can implement immediate evictions based on theft of service or trespassing law. Schaeffer said the new law would also give park operators the ability to turn off utility services to non-paying guests.
Schaeffer said both pieces of legislation were expected to sail through the Texas legislature this summer and be signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry by September.
TACO has also intervened to modify the language of Senate Bill 280, which originally proposed taxing campgrounds to pay for additional policing and trash control efforts along the San Marcos River. But TACO argued that park owners should not be assessed the tax because many of their guests are snowbirds or Winter Texans who do not use the river. The modified legislation that exempts camping fees is also expected to be signed into law this summer.
TACO’s Spring Trade show was scheduled for today, with the association’s annual auction taking place tonight. The auction provides funding for TACO’s government affairs program, which members consider their number one benefit. Educational seminars were planned throughout the day Tuesday.
Based in Crowley, TACO represents nearly 400 private campgrounds and RV resorts in Texas. The association was established in 1972 by a group of five campground owners who felt there should be independent marketing and advocacy for the private park industry in Texas. In addition to its legislative advocacy, TACO publishes the RV Travel & Camping Guide to Texas, a significant consumer magazine with a distribution of 250,000, and it hosts www.TexasCampgrounds.com, the most widely used website for RV parks and campgrounds in Texas. The association also promotes Texas campgrounds in over 25 RV shows in the US and Canada.