County Tourism District Re-approved

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

June 5, 2023

County Supervisors have reapproved a tourism business assessment district for another year, and reappointed a County elected official to a new seat on a countywide tourism board.

Supervisors re-authorized the County Business Improvement District or CBID, which was first approved in 2009 and charges a 2% tax on the cost of a room stay at hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals located within the County’s jurisdiction of unincorporated towns and is collected by the County Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office. 

RV parks and private campgrounds are not subject to the assessments. The tax can either be paid by the business or passed on to a guest’s room bill. 

The CBID fee is in addition to the County’s 9% bed taxes and Visit SLO CAL, a.k.a. SLO County Tourism Marketing District, or TMD, which charges 1.5% per night on a room stay and uses the money to market the whole county. So lodging properties in towns like Cambria and Cayucos charge the 9% County bed tax, 1.5% to the TMD and 2% for the CBID, for a total of 12.5% in taxes on top of the room rate.

Half of the monies collected through the CBID in each community are returned to a local advisory board to spend on tourism-related events and promotions within that community.

The other half goes to a countywide CBID Advisory Board with representatives from each unincorporated towns. Cayucos and Cambria are the biggest contributors to the CBID, given the high number of motels and VRs in each.

The CBID Board acts as a somewhat independent agency with its own staff, and Supervisors providing budgeting support and spending approvals. 

As an assessment district the CBID must be re-approved every year and subject to a “protest” vote wherein each lodging business in the CBID is given a weighted vote dependent on how much of the total monies each brings in. If over 50% of the weighted vote is in opposition, the Supervisors cannot approve the assessments and the CBID would essentially die.

The lodging businesses in the CBID did not reach that protest threshold and so Supervisors were clear to approve it for another year. 

In another tourism business decision, Supervisors re-appointed County Auditor-Treasurer-Tax Collector-Public Administrator, Jim Hamilton, to the TMD Board to represent the County. 

The TMD Board has 15 members — one each from the incorporated cities and unincorporated towns, plus one lodging business owner appointed by Supervisors and an at-large person also appointed by Supervisors.

Hamilton had originally been put on the board in 2015 when it was first formed, as the County’s at-large lodging business member and is now the County’s at-large representative. 

Hamilton was given a 3-year term and his new term is slated to expire July 1, 2026.

You May Also Like…

New City Engineer Hired

New City Engineer Hired

Cindy Cecil has been hired as Morro Bay’s new City Engineer. Submitted photo Morro Bay has a new City Engineer,...