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Mammoth Lakes Passes TBID Tourism "Assessment" In Split Vote

The Mammoth Times reports that Mammoth Lakes passed its much-debated TBID (Tourism Business Investment District) revenue assessment, which will raise $4.7 million from local businesses each year in order to better market the area and subsidize air service costs. Many have cited Mammoth's lagging brand awareness in its primary Southern California market and the lack of airborne destination travel as two primary reasons why the town and its businesses have suffered, and the TBID has been promoted as a mechanism for the town, with a solid boost from Mammoth Mountain, to get bodies to come up to the Eastern Sierras, including June Lake and June Mountain, which Mammoth Mountain has promised to promote more actively in their marketing.

The TBID is a California-bred phenomenon that began in West Hollywood in the early 90's as a way for certain touristy areas to fundraise for various marketing and other purposes, but its reception in Mammoth has been mixed, as it's hard to distinguish it from a new tax. Two members of the town council voted against it, citing vague language, uncertain commitment from Mammoth Mountain, and the poor precedent of other unique efforts to reposition the town. These included an attempt to rezone a chunk of the residential core as blight and open it for redevelopment, Intrawest's involvement with the town "failing to raise all boats with the tide," and the airport development fiasco, which is now costing the town $2 million a year.

The majority from the TBID's annual proceeds will be fairly split between sales and marketing, which will suck up $2.35 million, and the "air service subsidy marketing," which will take two million.

· Town Council approves TBID [Mammoth Times]