Bishop TBID in the works

traffic-bishop.jpgThe Bishop City Council has approved a resolution that declares the City’s intent to set up the Bishop Tourism Improvement District. A public meeting and hearing will follow. Only lodging businesses would be assessed, and the money would be used to pay for marketing and sales promotion efforts for the assessed businesses. The Bishop Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau devoted time and effort to this plan.

According to the City Council agenda, a petition was received, reviewed by the City Clerk, and found to have the necessary signatures for the City to move ahead with the resolution of intent. The City Council voted unanimously to approve the resolution.

That document says that lodging businesses that will pay more than 50% of the assessment proposed have signed and submitted petitions in support of the formation of the BTID. The boundaries of the district are the same as the City of Bishop.

The resolution says that the annual assessment is 2% of gross on short-term stays of less than 31 days. The assessment will not apply to government employees staying on government business. The document says the plan for the assessments is to provide direct benefits by increasing room night stays through sales and marketing programs.

The meeting to hear testimony on this plan, according to the resolution, is set for October 27th at 7pm in the Council Chambers. The public hearing to establish the BTID and the levy of assessments is set for November 10th at 7pm or as soon thereafter as may be heard in the Council Chambers.

If there are written protests by the owners of the lodging businesses that would pay more than 50% of the estimated total assessment of the entire BTID, there would be no more proceedings for one year.

A nearby neighbor, the Town of Mammoth Lakes, established a Tourism Business Improvement District last year. There was some controversy over this move which includes assessments of 1% of gross on lodging, 1.5% on restaurant and retail and 2% on lift tickets and ski school sales. There were initial objections to assessing restaurant and retail stores. Enough support was finally garnered to move ahead.

Again, the Bishop Tourism Improvement District would assess lodging only.

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27 Responses to Bishop TBID in the works

  1. Sean September 25, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    There is a major difference between the BTID and the program established in Mammoth. The BTID will only assess lodging. Mammoth opted to assess all lodging, retail and restaurant operations. This means that visitors see a tourism tax on everything in Mammoth…no wonder they look at it negatively. In Bishop, the local retail and restaurant businesses will not be affected. I operate one of the biggest hotels in Bishop, and fully support the BTID project.

  2. Charles O. Jones September 25, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    I’m no raving conservative that rails against any and all taxes, but you can’t just tax your way to prosperity. It’s just not that simple. These ideas are short-sighted IMO.

  3. MajorTom September 25, 2014 at 10:16 am #

    Great idea. People need to be reminded that we are here before they will come and all business in Bishop benefit from new visitors. This fee makes far more sense that using general taxpayer funds to pay for advertising of the county. Attracting tourists is a cost of doing business and ought to be borne by the businesses that benefit. In fact, the fee should be expanded to all tourist oriented businesses so that more events and advertising can be established with the additional funds. It would be great if the district could be expanded throughout the county and all areas of the county could be publicized. I trust the business community not to waste their own money.

  4. bishop rocks September 25, 2014 at 8:57 am #

    Some case studies can be found here, for convenient research:

    • Charles O. Jones September 25, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

      With all due respect, I question the motivations of the organization in your link. A group of attorneys and consultants who profit from assisting communities to enact TBID programs?

      Forgive me if I don’t accept all of their claims at face value.

      • bishop rocks September 26, 2014 at 8:47 am #

        Somehow I know someone would say that….

        I’ll be more specific: Instead of just being a ignorant naysayer, why don’t you (like I have) do some actual research on how this type of program has been used successfully in anyone of the following cities that have reported increased tourism through implementing a TBID:

        Anaheim / Garden Grove
        • Burbank
        • Carlsbad
        • Claremont
        • Chula Vista
        • Coronado
        • Costa Mesa
        • Dana Point
        • Davis
        • Del Mar
        • Fairfield
        • Folsom
        • Fresno
        • Half Moon Bay
        • Huntington Beach
        • Irvine
        • Laguna Beach
        • Lodi
        • Long Beach
        • Los Angeles
        • Madera County
        • Marin County
        • Mariposa County
        • Mendocino County
        • Monterey County
        • Morro Bay
        • Napa Valley
        • National City
        • Newport Beach
        • Oceanside
        • Pacific Grove
        • Palm Springs
        • Pasadena
        • Paso Robles
        • Pismo Beach
        • Placer Valley
        • Rancho Cordova
        • Redding City
        • Redding Hilltop
        • Richmond
        • Sacramento
        • San Diego
        • San Francisco
        • San Jose
        • San Luis Obispo (City)
        • San Luis Obispo (County)
        • San Mateo
        • Santa Barbara South Coast
        • Santa Clara
        • Santa Clarita
        • Santa Cruz County
        • Santa Rosa
        • Santa Ynez Valley
        • Sonoma County
        • South Lake Tahoe
        • Stockton
        • Temecula
        • Tiburon
        • Torrance
        • Tri-Valley
        • Vallejo
        • Ventura – Oxnard
        – Camarillo
        • Walnut Creek
        • West Hollywood
        • Woodland
        • El Dorado County
        • Healdsburg
        • Humboldt County
        • Lancaster
        • Santa Monica

        Seriously, I’d love to actual FACTS about why this is a bad idea, since I seen actual PROOF that it works elsewhere.

        • Charles O. Jones September 26, 2014 at 11:05 am #

          Well everyone is doing it so it must be good? Sorry, but I’ve seen enough of that mentality in local governments to know better. That aside, I am interested in this research you say you’ve done. Do you have any specifics other than glossy words from consultants? I truly would be interested in looking at it if you do.

          You ask for facts, I’m not sure how to prove the concept that increased taxation is not the answer to prosperity. If it were we could all just tax ourselves to wealth. If this increased taxation is such a good idea, why not double or triple the tax and realize even greater benefits? And why limit it to just lodging? The entire community benefits from prosperity, not just the hotel industry. Raise taxes for everyone and we’ll all be better off? Seriously, where does it end? As I’ve already said, this concept is short-sighted IMO.

          • bishop rocks September 26, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

            I’m assuming you won’t accept case studies from consultants or communities promoting that this has worked…so what resources am I allowed to post to help provide more information on how this proposal works?

            I’m not saying “because everyone else is doing it so we should” per se. I’m saying because other communities have successfully been able to increase funding for their Chamber and Visitors Centers, and you may be aware that ours is in need of funding, we should do it.

            Again, if you have a better idea, and any idea, for increasing revenue to promote this area and attract more tourists, let’s hear it! Because doing nothing isn’t working out very well for us.

          • Charles O. Jones September 26, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

            @bishop rocks,
            I’m not trying to pick a fight with you over this, I just don’t buy in to the concept. These costs will be passed on to the visitors which can have unintended consequences for the business operators. Travelers are already hit with many dubious fees and add-ons as it is. Take “resort fees” for instance, there has been significant backlash from many travelers over these added charges. People get pissed when they think they’re being soaked with extra charges and they leave with a bad taste in their mouth. This is not a recipe for long-termed success IMO.

            Not to mention the MANY resorts, communities and chambers that have had great successes without gouging their visitors. That list would be much longer than the one you’ve provided. If the hotel operators are all on board with this concept then maybe they should get together and pony-up some funding rather than expecting a tax to do it for them.

            Bottom line, I have no dog in this fight, I don’t stay in Bishop hotels and I don’t stand to profit from any increase in tourism. I just think the concept itself is misguided.

          • MajorTom September 27, 2014 at 11:44 am #

            The idea doesn’t seem functionally different than business advertising, which seems to be pretty effective. Taxes in and of themselves may not lead to prosperity, but money spent wisely can certainly do so. So basically what this does is raise money from tourist-oriented businesses to attract customers for those businesses, but on a regional basis. Theoretically, businesses could all voluntarily kick in funds for an advertising program, but the problem of free-riders would probably nix that approach. It just seems like common sense to me, unless it is true that advertising our area will not lead to increased visits (which is counterintuitive). Also, the money should be used to stock fish, put on events (fishing contests), etc. that attract people to the area but don’t in and of themselves have much of a profit potential.

            Assuming these kinds of advertising and events are beneficial, it makes far more sense that the area businesses fund them than all taxpayers, which is what happens now to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the county and city. The business district is no different than a business having an advertising budget that is factored in the cost of service. Better for the county to put the two hundred thousand dollars a year it grants for advertising and special events into operating the airport for commercial flights, which would give us a chance to expand our economy beyond tourists and perhaps attract some new entrepenuers.

        • Trouble September 26, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

          That’s a pretty impresive list until you get to Lancaster .Anyway, Bishop needs to improve it’s image as a tourist and speed trap with the L.A. market, before any is going to want to spend vacation dollars here. The Adventure Trail System is a great first step in my personal opinion. Rock climbing and fishing our also our other real strengths.

          This is one of the few places you can fish year round .

      • bishop rocks September 26, 2014 at 8:52 am #

        Also, no one admires a critic and I think everyone agrees this area needs some good ideas for economic development. So by all means, let’s hear what ideas you have, instead of everyone constantly dragging their heels every time someone suggests changing something.

        I completely serious – anyone have any constructive ideas they want to share?

        • bishop rocks September 26, 2014 at 8:58 am #

          Or, if you don’t have any ideas to contribute to the conversation about improving the economy, would someone please educate me about why this would be bad for Bishop?

      • bishop rocks September 26, 2014 at 9:15 am #

        One more thought – there are lots and lots of corporations, lobbies, and legal firms that provide consulting services to communities for legal representation, civil engineering, planning, design, landscaping, installing the drinking fountains “Trouble” has nominated for his econ dev strategy, marketing, graphics, printing services….the list goes on.

        Just because Cities hire consultants to implement new programs doesn’t mean the consultants are all crooks here to rob us blind.

        It does usually mean that the consultants are experts in a particular field where they know more about the subject than the average layperson. So yeah, the case studies I provided highlighted a few particular case studies the firm had been involved with (because they’re a business, and also have market themselves).

        Bishop would do well to learn from what other cities have implemented to successfully increase tourism (case studies) and chances are likely that other cities relied on consultants to assist them in developing a plan and finance strategy, because Cities don’t have that kind of expertise in house.

  5. bishop rocks September 25, 2014 at 8:43 am #

    Good! Bishop has to compete as a destination just as if it were a business, and other destination towns throughout California and intermountain west (our competition) already employ this type of financing tool to market themselves. The status quo of Bishop is a declining economy and closing businesses, and action needs to be taken to stimulate the economy and revitalize the town. People will not return to their experience if their experience of the town is that it’s dead. And a more robust marketing budget couldn’t hurt.

    This is not a new concept, this is a smart and proven economic development strategy that has been used in other successful destination communities throughout California and the intermountain west, and I strongly support it!

    To City Council, the Chamber, and the many people who are concerned, please look at how BIDs and TBIDs have been used successfully in other communities (not just Mammoth), and let’s take care to learn from what works, what doesn’t work and what can be improved.

  6. Rachel September 25, 2014 at 7:33 am #

    It is TBID not BTID…dyslexic much?

    • Benett Kessler September 25, 2014 at 8:40 am #

      Actually BTID stand for Bishop Tourism Improvement District, which is its name. Benett Kessler

      • Ken Warner September 25, 2014 at 9:49 am #

        Fun when those little annoying dogs snap at your heels aint it?

  7. Tinner September 25, 2014 at 7:17 am #

    Welcome to Mammoth.

  8. Trouble September 25, 2014 at 7:10 am #

    Try putting drinking fountains on every corner on main st. People will have a friendly image of us driving thru. Most people I know that come thru here know us as a speed trap mostly.

    • Mark September 25, 2014 at 9:43 am #

      and VC 21950 stings

  9. Shine September 25, 2014 at 1:16 am #

    Sounds like the big chains will control the votes and benefit the most. Don’t see this helping the local owners that keep more of their profit in town.

    • bishop rocks September 25, 2014 at 10:09 am #

      That’s not actually how a TBID works. The incremental raise in lodging prices goes back to Bishop, specifically for marketing, promotion and investment in the community. Maybe you can explain what your fear is on this subject?

      • Shine September 25, 2014 at 5:28 pm #

        TBIDs go to district not city. Point is bigger businesses can outvote small ones if percentage of income generated is only voice. Case study you provided shows San Diego TBID exempted at first and then accessed much lower rate later for smaller hotels.

        • bishop rocks September 26, 2014 at 9:06 am #

          But outvote on what? Who actual administers the money? If the money is used for promotion of Bishop as a destination, won’t all lodging benefit? And other businesses as well?

          If that is a concern, could we have a board that administers the money that has an equal number of voting members that represent boutique and franchise lodging?

          Thanks for looking at the case studies. I’m all for an informed debate on how to do this right!

          • Shine September 27, 2014 at 10:53 am #

            Outvote on formation of BTID. Holiday Inn would pay much greater percentage of “assessment proposed” than Trees Motel for example. Just going by info in article. Interested to know what vote was by individual business and what smaller ones think.

  10. Steve September 24, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

    OH for the love of god, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE NOOOOOOOO.

    Just look at Mammoth Lakes, do you really think the TBID really helped last winter?. Before the TBID people still visited Mammoth. People return to an area based on their experience and not because of an ad.


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