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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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January 28, 2015     Feather River Bulletin
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January 28, 2015
 

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Feather River Bulletin Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 3.@ Supervisors hear about efforts to improve tourism Proposal calls for lodging providers to ( qarge guests additional 3 percent tax Debra Moore Staff Writer dmoore@plumasnews.corn In an effort to raise funds to market Plumas County, numerous lodging providers want to form a tourism business improvement district. "We're concerned that we i: have no money to market our county," Tracy Wixted told county supervisors during their Jan. 20 meeting. Wixted, who owns the Ranchito Motel in Quincy, is the treasurer of Visit Plumas County, the group spearheading the effort. Supervisors Lori Simpson and Sherrie Thrall have met with the group and encouraged them to make a presentation to the full board. Both like the concept, but want to ensure that all involved understand the potential issues. Lodging providers already collect a transient occupancy tax, which goes into the county's general fund. Historically a portion of that money was returned to local chambers of commerce for marketing efforts, but with recent budget shortfalls that hasn't occurred. That has left businesses scrambling for other revenue sources. "I've always felt the responsibility of a business is to promote their own business," Thrall said during an interview last week. "If those particular business owners wish to band together and promote their business, I have no problem with that." Thrall said that discussions are still preliminary and there are a lot of details to be worked NEWSMAKER Austin Hagwood, of Quincy, has been named to the Dean's List in the University of Notre Dame's College of Arts and Letters for outstanding scholarship during the fall 2014 semester. Students who achieve dean's honors at Notre Dame represent the top 30 percent of students in their college. Call THE PRINT SHOP for all your printing needs!! 283-0800 out, including how the money would be collected and how it would be dispersed. "I think it's going to be interesting," she said. During last Tuesday's board meeting, the supervisors listened to a presentation made by Carson Lambeth, a project leader for Civitas Advisors, a consulting group that specializes in the formation of tourism districts. Local providers have raised the $42,000 to pay for the consultant to help them establish a district. Plumas County lodging providers aren't alone in their desire to market their area, and there are now 78 tourism improvement districts operating in California. West Hollywood formed the first such district in 1992. Lambeth outlined the steps to create a district, which include forming a steering committee, assembling a database ,of members, developing a business plan and bylaws, gaining majority approval from the membership, and presenting it to the Board of Supervisors. A vote is weighted by the number of rooms each member offers. Lambeth said that if lodging providers tacked on a 2or 3 percent tax, it would generate $350,000 to $471,000 annually. It takes between six and 12 months to form a district. "I've been following along," Supervisor Simpson said. "This would be their own special district." But it's not to be confused with a special district that is governed by the Local "How much can we tax our guests before they stop coming?" Shelley Wilkerson Co-owner Camp Layman Agency Formation Commission, such as the community services districts or fire protection districts that most are familiar with. It would be a nonprofit corporation, Lambeth explained "I think it's more up to the lodging providers, but we'd stamp our approval," Simpson said. But not all lodging providers support the idea. Opposition Shelley Wilkerson, a co-owner of Camp Layman near Graeagle, presented the supervisors with a printed list of her objections. Wilkerson noted that the transient occupancy tax or TOT is already at 9 percent, and nothing prevents it from being raised at some point in time. The same could be said of the 2 to 3 percent proposed by the tourism business improvement district. "How much can we tax our guests before they stop coming?" she asked the supervisors. She also noted that increasing taxes prevents lodging owners from raising their room prices because OPFItATION: SWEET PuPs ; h Sien  .......  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Don't be misled'. 213 Danny ct.j Per El Atedgas Industria! Park "%L ll Geeret East Qucy Hh=y 7O 213 Danny Ct, Quincy, CA 283-1935 It's ultimately your choice what contractor you use for repairs, not your insurance company's choice! Insurance- related repairs are one of our specialties. Emergencies 24/7 CONSTRUCTION SINCE 1984 General Building Contractor Wilkerson discussed the varied nature of Plumas County's tourism attractions. "Plumas County is not like Napa," she said, which has a primary industry. "How can one entity take money from all these lodging providers and make sure we all receive benefit?" She described how she and her family bought their resort in 2010 and have steadily increased their business through their own marketing efforts. Lastly, she questioned the need for yet another board in the county. Though there were other lodging providers in the audience, Wilkerson was the only one to speak up for or against the proposal. Because it was an information only item on their agenda, the supervisors took no formal action. During her interview, Supervisor Thrall said she understood Wilkerson's concerns about the distribution of funds because historically that had been a point of contention for various areas of the county. Next step Wixted said the next step would be to develop,a draft management plan for the district, which would be shared with other lodging providers and the Board of Supervisors. Calif. Lic. #453927 (530) 283-2035 Your/:-'Yes a little t Then give us a call! * Plus Tax & Haz mat fee, Up to 5qts of oil, Does not incl. synthetic, diesel vehicles or full sized vans, Expires 2/27/2015 .... 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