Brief History of the Business Improvement District as established by the Mendocino County Lodging Association
In 2003, the MCLA Board of Directors researched different avenues of how we could create and maintain substantial funding for promoting Mendocino County. The idea of a Business Improvement District (BID) was decided upon as the most logical choice. With the help of the Mendocino County Promotional Alliance (MCPA), MCLA Directors and other local leaders, the necessary research and actions were taken to begin the process of passing a BID in Mendocino County. During the next three (3) years, countless meetings were held to educate the four (4) cities, lodging operators, county officials and the general public in order to bring them on board.
A BID is a type of special assessment district where an industry chooses to assess itself to provide funds to address a common need — in this case, the promotion of tourism in Mendocino County.
Under terms of the BID ordinance, lodging operators will assess themselves 1 per cent of gross room or rental receipts, raising an estimated $550,000 to promote tourism in the county. The County of Mendocino will provide 50% matching funds to increase the total promotional and marketing budget to approximately $900,000, in the first year . Private industry will design and deliver the promotional and marketing program, through the Mendocino County Lodging Association. The ordinance caps the county’s administrative costs at one-percent (1%).
The BID that MCLA has developed will focus on “branding” Mendocino County as a viable destination option to compete for tourist dollars with Sonoma and Napa Counties. Because of its diversity of travel options, the entire county will be showcased with equal emphasis on our wine country, our redwoods, and our spectacular coastline.
How the MCLA BID Works
BID funds can only be spent in accordance with the budget submitted when Lodging members vote on forming the BID.
- The BID must be renewed annually by the Board of Supervisors, and it can be dissolved by a majority vote (in terms of TOT dollars paid) of assessed businesses.
- By law, the County and participating cities cannot legally keep the funds — it is mandatory that BID funds be transferred to the BID organization, who ensures that the funds are used for the direct benefit of the lodging industry.
- Lodging businesses in the County and participating cities will be required to collect the 1% BID assessment along with the TOT. On a quarterly basis, the County and participating cities will transfer the funds to the BID organization.
- When forming the district, all businesses that are subject to the assessment have an opportunity to protest the formation of the BID. A 50% negative vote (in terms of actual TOT dollars paid) prevents the Board of Supervisors from forming the district for one year.
The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, May 9, 2006 unanimously passed an ordinance approving the Mendocino County Lodging Business Improvement. The Business Improvement District will promote all hotels, inns, bed & breakfasts, and vacation rental businesses in the County of Mendocino and in the cities of Fort Bragg, Point Arena, Ukiah and Willits.