County applauded at Breakfast with your Supervisor
The audience erupted in applause when San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford announced at the August 18 Breakfast with your Supervisor event, the approval of a chamber-county partnership program where a portion of transient occupancy taxes collected from people staying at hotels or shorter-term rentals will be allocated to promote tourism.
According to an August 9 press release, obtained by The Alpenhorn News, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors at its August 8 meeting approved a Chamber-County Partnership Program allocating $350,000 to the County Economic Development Agency for a “pilot program” where a portion of transient occupancy taxes collected from each community in unincorporated county areas will be used to “promote tourism.”
The press release explained transient occupancy tax (TOT) first implemented in 1964 was created specifically to fund recreation and in 1980 the county began “sharing the tax proceeds with local chambers of commerce” to help “promote tourism.”
After 2012, the program was “phased out” the press release explained, “when an audit determined some chambers were using the funds for day-to-day operations rather than tourism marketing.” The revised program was re-structured to “avoid the issues” with chambers’ misuse of funds by establishing a list of “qualifying expenses.”
“I was able to get my colleagues to support a program to allow the chambers once again to use portions of the occupancy tax to do outreach, publicity, marketing for tourism,” Rutherford announced, adding, “So Chambers are going to start to see that money flow again.”
Rutherford explained the program “allows you all to control the messages that are sent, what’s advertised, where it’s advertised” with the County “placing some controls and limits on that money” so chambers “don’t’ get into trouble like what happened before.”
“We are hopeful we will be able to work together to come up with a sustainable program,” Rutherford voiced, explaining, “As the TOT grows and we attract more visitors there will be a bigger pot of money.”
“Our main industries up here are tourism and real estate, so this goes right to the heart of our economy,” Lake Arrowhead Communities Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Robin Bull voiced, explaining, “It’s critical to reinvest to make it grow, and this is going to allow us to do even more than we are already doing now to promote tourism.”
Rutherford talked about the new 24-hour short-term rental complaint hotline (888) 399-8591, explaining the county’s new ordinance requires permits for short-term rentals, limits the number occupants and vehicles while requiring owner/manager to provide 24-hour contact to resolve and respond to complaints within one hour.
Regarding the Community of Crestline and improvements to Lake Gregory, Rutherford shared dredging of the lake is now complete, work was underway to construct stratifications to “capture that silt before it gets to the lake” while describing dam improvements as “a long complicated process.”
Rutherford addressing the impact dam construction could have on Crestline’s tourism assured, “The County is committed to do whatever it can to keep things moving good and do the publicity to continue to drive visitors up here even during the construction process.”
Rutherford introduced special guest Crestline/Lake Gregory Chamber of Commerce President Louis Boehle as her keynote speaker.
“We’re working really hard on re-branding Crestline so people will realize what Crestline is really about. We want people to realize it is a wholesome community, it’s family-oriented,” Boehle voiced, explaining, the chamber is re-branding and planning several new events. Boehle encouraged Crestline residents wanting change to “get involved” explaining, “voluntarism is a great way to give back to your community” and “helps you with your inner self.” He advised everyone to visit their website crestlinechamber.org and Facebook page Crestline/Lake Arrowhead Chamber of Commerce.
View Original Publication: The Alpenhorn News