Tuesday, December 3, 2019
[Kern County] Grand jury recommends Kern County supervisors retire Board of Trade
A grand jury is recommending the Board of Supervisors formally retire the Kern County Board of Trade, saying the agency “exists in name only.”
Prior to 2012, the Board of Trade operated its own department, responsible for promoting all aspects of Kern County, according to the grand jury report. Since that time, the department was incorporated into the County Administrative Office.
Many of its duties have been taken over by the CAO, the grand jury said, adding the advisory board that used to provide advice to supervisors regarding tourism and film issues serves no vital function other than recommending tourism grant recipients.
In fiscal year 2018-19, the grand jury said the Board of Trade awarded 13 grants totaling $100,000. The grand jury appeared to say that the county’s own communication office could take over much of the Board of Trade’s duties without much difficulty.
The grand jury also recommended increasing the county’s transient occupancy tax rate, which applies mostly to hotel rooms, to fund additional resources for promoting tourism and filmmaking.
The grand jury largely shot down what it described as citizen concerns that both tourism spending and feature film production had declined since the CAO’s office absorbed the Board of Trade.
While tourism spending had declined from 2015 to 2016, the grand jury said the $1.6 million spent in 2018 by tourists surpassed previous levels. And the 16 feature films produced in the county appeared to be significantly higher than earlier years.
November 14, 2019
The Bakersfield Californian