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Tourism Improvement District Pleased With 2012
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Citing its best year since forming, the Oakdale Tourism Business Improvement District announced a near $65,000 windfall for its coffers based on a full 2012 financial report.

Prior to the meeting, Oakdale Finance Director Albert Avila delivered a 2012 fourth quarter check for $12,267 to the advisory board.

The Oakdale City Council formed the BID in 2009. Hotels and motels in the city charge a 7-percent room tax every time they rent a room with a 2-percent assessment going directly to the Oakdale Tourism and Visitors Bureau (OTVB) to carry out the Oakdale Tourism Business Improvement District’s business plan. The BID advisory board is comprised of the city’s four hotel operators and three “at-large” members appointed by the council.

Over $200,000 from the lodging tax went to the city in 2012.

“This number is the highest than previous years,” said Board Member Has Panchal. “It’s indicative that the OTVB and BID is working. That’s the point I want to get across.”

Panchal said the two organizations have been separate and working together for a little over six months and was looking forward to having both entities operate for a full year.

“The OTVB purpose and objective is to bring people from outside the city to stay here in Oakdale,” said BID Chairman Ramesh Mistry.

The board presented its 2013 budget, noting that $34,000 was set aside for advertising and bringing business and tourism to Oakdale.

In May 2012, the OTVB partnered with NextMedia Group of San Jose for an aggressive marketing program to encourage Bay Area residents to visit Oakdale. The media blast consisted of radio ads, a new logo and website, and quarter-page advertisements for Oakdale Tourism in printed media.

“If business stays, business pays,” said Panchal.

The organization also sponsors events and clubs in the city and finances the downtown tree lighting.

“Our goal is to do the entire F Street, Senior Center, and Bianchi (Community) Center,” said Panchal. “If the city looks good, the people will come.”

Ramona Howard, Administrator for the OTVB, reviewed a tentative plan to place informational kiosks throughout the city that would have maps, restaurant information, and event announcements.

“Our goal is to do eight, but we’ve budgeted three,” said Howard, who explained that she was looking for something that wouldn’t require power and was low maintenance.

Howard also reviewed the OTVB guidelines for funding and sponsorships.

Last year the OTVB sponsored the Oakdale Garden Club, the Oakdale Car Show, and the Climbers Festival.

Howard pointed out that two of the events were her projects but they were now “standing alone” as she was reaching out to seek other applicants for OTVB sponsorships. She said there is now a $1500 cap on the sponsorship funding by OTVB per event or organization.