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Gridley businesses not supported by Council

The Gridley Herald of Gridley, California

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Borges says "Gridley has no draw"

At a time when Gridley should be doing anything possible to bring business to town, Gridley Council members became the only City in Butte County to opt out of supporting a County Tourism BID. A two percent increase in motel costs approved would have meant the inclusion into the funding mechanism that will mean a boost in major advertising and promotion for other Butte County motels and hotels.

Seeing the benefit for the County, the City of Biggs voted in favor of the Tourism BID although the town has no motel or hotel.

The Cities of Chico, Durham and Biggs voted approval along with the Town of Paradise.

Butte County Public Information Officer Casey Hatcher again attended a Gridley City Council meeting Monday in the hopes that the Council would join the other cities to help promote Butte County as a tourism spot. The two percent assessment would be placed on short term motel stays of 31 days or less with funds going directly to an owner's association for use for tourism and promotion.

"The lodging facilities have asked us to initiate this program," Hatcher explained noting that a Public Hearing had been held at the Supervisors meeting with only one protest from a five bed motel in Chico who had questions about beds and breakfasts with Hatcher explaining that anyone who sells short term stays should be paying into the district and recognize the benefits.

Unfortunately, those benefits will now be out of the reach of Gridley's Pacific Motel and Gridley Inn & RV Park.

In a report submitted by Butte County in the quest for the Tourism BID it was stated, "TBID's utilize the efficiencies of private sector operation in the market-based promotion of tourism districts. TBID's allow lodging business owners to organize their efforts to increase room night sales. Lodging business owners within the TBID pay an assessment and those funds are used to provide services that increase room night sales."

California's TBID's collectively raise over $150 million for local destination marketing.

TBID's provide a stable, long-term funding source for tourism promotion, something the other Cities and the Town of Paradise will now see with Gridley left out.

Councilman Ray Borges stated Gridley had just gotten out of a Business Improvement District that didn't go well.

"Our businesses can't afford it. We are losing businesses," he stated.

Hatcher did a good job of trying to explain that this different type of BID would not affect other Gridley businesses, (and no cost to the City) merely the two lodging businesses who were in favor of the chance to be included in a large tourism promotion campaign with possibilities listed for marketing and advertising in periodicals such as Sunset Magazine for example.

"The lodging businesses are not interested in hiring staff. They want to do ad buys, publication printing. I can't say they would never have staff but they don't think there is enough budget for that," Hatcher explained.

Councilman Jeff Draper joined Borges stating he was against assessments by government and taxing people who stay here.

"I have a problem getting involved with an assessment, I will leave it at that," he stated.

Mayor Frank Hall asked, "As long as the two businesses want this, why would we stop it?" This is not against local taxpayers. I think it is a win."

Vice Mayor Bruce Johnson asked if Gridley businesses would benefit with the same amount put into the BID to which Hatcher stated two components, marketing and micro marketing would be focused on with just 15 percent being an administrative charge of every dollar assessed.

"Administration costs cannot exceed 15 percent. The percent Gridley lodging businesses pays in will mean a piece of that market targeting Gridley. She explained Gridley's amount would of course be less than Chico because of the vast difference in amount of motels and hotels.

"When people travel they (local motels) will have a better chance of getting people here when going to Butte County," Hatcher explained.

"If all of the cities of Butte County and the town of Paradise approve the assessment, there is a better chance.

"I actually think small businesses benefit from a better draw," Hatcher told Council members.

Borges stated Gridley has nothing to do here. "Why wouldn't they go to Chico? We don't have a draw."

Councilman Owen Stiles disagreed by reminding Borges of hunting season, especially duck season when the motels are often at capacity.

"Those two businesses generate a lot of money. I have talked to them. Like you, I was really, really anti BID but the money is needed for other activities."

Hatcher stated, "I think Gridley is lovely and respectfully disagree (with Borges). There are things to do, a draw. People come to visit maybe for weddings and other events and stay in local motels.

"Lots of people stay in Chico but smaller communities in Tourism BIDs do have more business."

"it is a tax," Vice Mayor Johnson said.

The rate of a double bed occupancy at Pacific Motel is $58 ($68 for a queen) which means the amount added to the rate would have been just $1.16 per night charged to out of town visitors, hardly enough to give up the vast amount of benefits the local motels would have seen from marketing and sales promotions from overnight tourism and market payers as tourists, meeting and event destinations thereby increasing room night sales.

The big picture might not mean overnight stays in Gridley are strictly for activities here, but rather, for tourists on their way to another destination but could fill their cars up with gas, eat at our restaurants, spend money much like the Gridley Invitational Basketball Tournament December 10-12, 2015 that brings so many visitors who spend money here but Council members voted Monday to not support the 62 year old tradition with a $500 sponsorship requested.

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Original Publication Date: October 21, 2015

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