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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
October 15, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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October 15, 2014

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8A Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014 Feather River Bulletin l, Debra Moore Staff Writer With Plumas County's population declining and vacant storefronts becoming increasingly the norm, community groups and individuals are scrambling to spark economic development. Some have called on local government to do more. The race for District 5 supervisor will be decided in less than three weeks and the candidates were asked their opinions on jobs, the local economy and tourism. Clio residents Alice Berg, Jeff Engel and Jim Judd have a limited amount of time to share their views with voters• They were scheduled to meet in a Graeagle forum last night, and will meet in Quincy tomorrow evening, Oct. 16, at 6:30 p.m. in the library meeting room. The League of Women Voters is the sponsor of both events• Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 4. Whoever is elected will succeed Supervisor Jon Kennedy in January. Following are the candidates' verbatim responses• "Job creation" is a popular catchphrase during an election. Do you see it as the role of a county supervisor to spur economic development? If so, how would you go about it? If not, whose responsibility should it be? Alice Berg While government doesn't create jobs, what we can do is make it easier for others. We need to transition into a 21st century economy, bring back young families and attract entrepreneurs• Our County faces persistdnt challenges like moderate geographic isolation, low incomes and shrinking historic industries Alice Berg (e.g. timber and railroad)• New ideas, energy and optimism are needed to forge a new economy. If elected, I will work with business leaders to grow, diversify and strengthen our economy while preserving and enhancing our quality of life here. I will collaborate with target industry, federal land managers, community leaders, other elected officials and concerned citizens to forge a comprehensive county-wide economic development strategy to lay out the goals, strategies and actions to make the most of this county's assets and challenges• We absolutely must have strategic thinking to guide .infrastructure investments, to facilitate regional collaboration and to effectively use limited resources for economic development• Through a strategic effort that includes County government, we can go a long way toward driving job growth and improving the quality of our communities• We also must realize the importance quality of life plays in economic development and new jobs. Parks, trails, recreational opportunities, fishing and hunting opportunities, clean air, clean water and quality locally grown food are all Cuts & Color I I I I I L (530) 283-1361 Jeff Engel important aspects of why people choose to live and visit here, and are essential to forging our new economy and attracting investment• Improving our quality of life -- such as creating a countywide trail system -- will spur economic development. If elected, I will provide leadership in County government to partner with industry, community leaders, nonprofits and concerned citizens to develop a culture of entrepreneurship. This effort, coupled with the incredible place we live in, will attract people to create businesses here just so they can live here. Jim Judd "Job creation" is a popular catch phrase during an election. Being in business for over 30 years it becomes obvious that "Job Creation" is an inherited responsibility for any business owner if he or she wants to survive as well as thrive. The interesting misconception new business owners have as startups is how government is that silent partner always demanding its share of the profits first, while imposing a vast array of regulatory hurdles businesses must • overcome• Certainly in California those hurdles continue to Jim Judd become ever more challenging. Government does not create jobs it only consumes. Job Creation comes from businesses, it comes from hard earned profit, it comes from individual investment and always with some sort of sacrifice. Not only do I see it as a role of a Supervisor, in today's business climate, businesses should demand it, Supervisors should expect it and more importantly, they should embrace it! The first step would be to foster an environment that tells businesses that government needs to get out of the way. Next step is to promote key incentives business owners/investors need in order to have the confidence to expand and invest••, such as free enterprise zones, investment tax credits, removing burdensome regulations at the local level and pushing back on the State and Feds on their over burdensome regulations. I'm already involved in talking to family owned businesses to come and see the advantages of moving to Plumas County. Last spring I promoted a small business summit through Rec & Tech where local businesses and community leaders heard firsthand the high-tech opportunities currently available and future possibilities• In short, the cornerstone of America is the small business owner and an inherited responsibility of being an effective small business owner is its preservation for future generations. Jeff Engel Being a self-employed business owner for the past 33 years in Plumas County, myself, my family, my employees and the people I have worked for have been responsible for the success of my business. Over the years, I have seen many business come and go. Over the past several years I have seen many business leave California as well: From what I've seen and heard, the major reasons for leaving have been taxes and regulations. If we want to keep the jobs we have and bring in new jobs we can't keep taxing and regulating business out of the county and out of the state. As your supervisor I will make it one of my top priorities to meet regularly with Federal and State agencies to personally keep them aware of how their implementations, regulations and restrictions are affecting the personal lives, business's and tourism in Plumas County. Tourism is a key component to Plumas County's economy, but the supervisors have eliminated funding to the local chambers, and the visitors bureau has been shuttered. Do you think a portion of the transient occupancy tax should be directed toward tourism? Do you favor the formation of a Tourism Business Improvement District? Alice Berg I do favor returning a portion of the TOT tax to local Chambers of Commerce. Our Chambers represent the interests of local businesses and provide a marketing network for businesses. They also serve as a critical central portal of information for foreign, out-of-state and regional visitors. Data (Dean Runyan Associates 2014) indicates that local sales tax in 2012 from visitors to Plumas County was $1.9 million and TOT receipts were $0.9 million -- the facts and numbers support and highlight the importance of tourism to our area. Further, in 2013 TOT receipts for Plumas County jumped up 21 percent (http://www.dean ts/CATravelImpacts.html). This is a significant increase in visitor days and income to the County. Many factors likely contributed to this increase including an improved economy, special events (including those hosted by my local event company, the Sierra Buttes Trails Stewardship Council and others) and increased promotion by the Chamber. We need to reinvest some of these funds back into the Chambers to continue on the path of growth and prosperity in the tourism sector. I think it would be a good mechanism to support and grow our tourism industry, FALL CARPET SALE ON NOW! Special pricing from Shaw Floors Featuring so soft so tough so proven by Wh~'e comfort, beauty, and quality are defincxi "Shop Where The Contractors Shop" 46 Years of Service • RESIDENTIAL & COMMERCIAL • FREE CONSULTATION • PROMPT INSTALLATION • FREE IN-HOME SHOPPING • SAVE YOUR GAS Lic. # 352667 MOBILE SHOWROOM Enjoy the comfort of in-home shopping! Our experienved representatives will bring an assortment of carpet, wood, vinyl or laminates right to your door. ASK FOR TOM "I'll return your call promptly" Tom however, there are some lodging providers who don't support a new tax on visitors. ' I believe it would be a small , enough tax (1 - 3 percent) that visitors wouldn't balk at it, especially relative to what. tourists pay in lodging taxes in other areas. So, it is important to listen to the businesses on the front line of tourism to get their perspective but it is clear that we need to provide some funding to support our Chambers and bolster our tourism industry. Jim Judd Not only did the BOS eliminate the funding, but the voters sent a strong message to the BOS by voting down Measure C back in 2012. : Voters understood the importance of the TOT and how it needs to be reinvested to promote and market Plumas County Tourism. Heck, was not the tourism industry promised reinvestment when the tax went from 6 percent to 9 percent? Tourism is a vital part of our local economy and I'll fight hard to reinvest a portion of the TOT for promoting and marketing Plumas County tourism. Not to do so is being short sighted, in what should be a long term tourism strategy, allowing neighboring counties the opportunity to grow theirs, at our expense! While I've attended several Plumas County Tourism , Council meetings including the meeting where the TBID was introduced, everyone needs to understand that our local tourism industry is extremely frustrated that zero TOT is being reinvested. TBID offers an opportunity for our tourism industry to have ownership of the funds collected thereby having the ability as well as the responsibility to invest and market Plumas County Tourism without government intervention. • Should the Plumas County Tourism Industry's decide to form and approve a TBID, I would support their efforts as long as there is a fair and equitable marketing plan county wide. However, I also suggested that any TBID monies collected by the County that have an associated service fee, that fee be capped, or at the very least tiered. I also made it clear, I'll continue to fight for a reinvestment of the current TOT. Jeff Engel I do believe the TOT Tax should be directed and used to encourage and promote tourism and that the Board of Supervisors should review and make the decision on the various ways our tourism c6uld be promoted• 16.12.010 Purpose and intent. It is the purpose and intent that there be imposed on transient occupants of hotel rooms, a tax, the proceeds of which may be used for promotional, cultural, beautification or recreational purposes, including but not limited to capital improvements. (Ord. 1794; Ord. 1330) as per www.codepublishing. : corn , Transient Occupancy Tax , (TOT) is charged in California when occupying a " room or rooms or other living :: space in a hotel, inn, tourist :i: home or house, motel or ,, other lodging (def'med below) unless the stay is for a period , of 31 days or more. Other : lodging includes, but is not :' D limited to: Camping sites Space at a campground or recreational vehicle park. The authority to levy TOT .. is granted to the legislative bodies of both cities and I counties by California Revenue and Taxation Code 7280.[1] The authority to collect TOT is generally granted to the County Tax Collector by the Board of Supervisors by means of an ordinance. An ordinance passed by a Board is specific to that County as per : Transient_occupancy_tax, ' I