Baker County's Transient Lodging Tax Committee met Thursday morning, Oct. 7, to review the two proposals for operating a visitor center in Baker City, and the committee, which advises the Baker County Board of Commissioners, gave a narrow edge to the proposal from Anthony Lakes Outdoor Recreation Association.
The other proposal is from the Baker County Chamber of Commerce (under the Baker County Unlimited umbrella), which had the previous visitor center contract.
The Board of Commissioners, who have the final say on awarding the contract, will meet Thursday, Oct. 14 to discuss the committee's recommendation. Two of the three commissioners, Bruce Nichols and Commission Chairman Bill Harvey, attended the committee's meeting.
The previous visitor services contract, for about $77,000 per year, expired Aug. 31.
Money for the contract comes from the tax that guests at motels, bed and breakfasts and other lodging establishments pay.
The Request for Proposals that the county sent out in early September included a scoring system for a variety of criteria:
• 5 points, cover letter
• 25 points, introductory Statement and Proposed Plan of Execution
• 15 points, staff
• 15 points, location
• 10 points, timeline for delivery
• 10 points, budget
• 10 points, Performance Measures and Reporting Requirements
• 5 points, references
• 5 points, conclusion
Tyler Brown, chairman of the lodging tax committee, said the final tally, by consensus of the committee, was 98 points for the proposal from the Anthony Lakes Outdoor Recreation Association, and 96 points for the Chamber of Commerce's proposal.
Brown said both groups "knocked the proposal out of the park."
Both were "incredibly well done," he said. "It was very close."
Brown said one of the lengthier discussions among committee members was about the proposed location of the visitor center.
The Chamber of Commerce proposes to continue operating at its current location, 490 Campbell St., on the north side of the street near Interstate 84.
Anthony Lakes, meanwhile, would have a visitor center at 1828 Main St. in downtown Baker City.
Other committee members are Toni Thompson, Tori Thatcher, Buell Gonzales Jr., Mandy Clark, Brian Vegter and Shane Alderson. Alderson was absent from the meeting.