The TBID is an assessment district that is voted on and approved by business owners. The owners assess themselves a fee. The fee is implemented and collected by representatives from that business sector.

Local residents and business owners had the opportunity to comment on the proposed renewal of the Siskiyou County Tourism Business Improvement District during the July 9 meeting of the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors. The TBID is a program of the Siskiyou Economic Development Council and SEDC representatives were present to share details about the district and to hear input from the public.

Mark Lilley, owner and operator of Dunsmuir’s Railroad Park Resort, and Lowell Pratt, general manager of Yreka’s Holiday Inn Express, both came forward to express support for the TBID. Lilley said he has seen the benefits of the district and the marketing it produces for the county.

During the week of July 4, Lilley said, the Dunsmuir Railroad Park Resort and Campground were at capacity and he had to turn people away, something he did not recall doing in previous years. “Discover Siskiyou’s marketing seems to be working,” he said, noting that he has cut back on his own marketing spending thanks to articles written and circulated by Discover Siskiyou.

For the value received, the two percent TBID assessment fee is a great investment, Lilley said, adding, “It’s paying off for the county and us as a whole.”

Pratt – who noted that he’s been managing hotels since 1983 – said that Siskiyou County is competing against entities in the Medford, Oregon area that have been involved in the tourism game for over 30 years. He posited that while Siskiyou County has a lot of catching up to do, the TBID is helping the local tourism industry significantly.

An opposing point of view was voiced by Kathleen Bull, owner of the Forest Lodge Motel in Happy Camp. “I feel left out completely,” she said of the TBID. She alleged that information on the TBID was not mailed to her correct address and said she had found incorrect information about different hospitality locations on Discover Siskiyou’s website. “I made a request last year to have that corrected and as of yesterday it’s still on the site,” she reported.

Bull went on to say that while she’s happy to hear about tourism improvements in Mount Shasta, Dunsmuir and Yreka, Happy Camp has “suffered tremendously” over the past two years. “My revenue is down thirty percent in the first quarter this year,” she detailed.

Bull concluded that, as she pays fees to the Siskiyou County TBID, she would like to receive information about what the district has to offer and wants to feel that she is “in the loop.” Discover Siskiyou Program Manager Niki Brown invited Bull to talk with the Discover Siskiyou team following the meeting.

Brown noted that Discover Siskiyou always welcomes feedback whether it’s critical or otherwise. She said they encourage lodging property owners to get involved with the organization. “There are wonderful opportunities to leverage marketing dollars for the benefit of individual business owners,” she explained.

The SEDC began working with lodging property owners in the county in 2011 to determine how to revitalize the local travel and tourism industry. Lodging stakeholders were connected with resources at the state level and thus developed a Siskiyou County Tourism Marketing Plan.

One of the suggestions made by that plan was that a Tourism Business Improvement District be developed. About 13 lodging owners spearheaded the effort, Brown said, and SEDC hired the legal firm Civitas to assist in the process. Thus, the TBID was established in 2015.

The TBID is an assessment district that is voted on and approved by business owners. The owners assess themselves a fee. The fee is implemented and collected by representatives from that business sector.

Transient occupancy tax is collected from business owners alongside the TBID assessment, but they are two completely separate funds, Brown said. The TBID has no control over transient occupancy tax. The TBID assessment fee is passed along to customers; the money then goes into a fund that is controlled by a five to seven member board comprised of local business owners.

A vote of at least 51 percent in favor is required from members of the TBID in order for the district to be renewed. Brown noted that the TBID has exceeded the majority required vote. The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors is responsible for passing the resolution of renewal for the TBID.