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BISBEE WIRE/#2 January 2019/Bisbee Economy/Lots of commentary

Updated: Jan 15, 2019


As noted below there are some conflicting signs about Bisbee's economy. Housing market strong, building permits up, but sales tax revenue is uneven. Even with excellent data, which I do not have, it is difficult to determine what is going on. Just as a for instance... look at the Oct/Nov sales tax figures. I would think that lodging & restaurants/bar & retail would be up (stair climb, other events) and they were but not dramatically. But looking at November, lodging and retail are up and restaurant/bar is down, even with the Sidepony event. I think that restaurant/bar receipts would rise or fall in correlation with lodging, but that is not the case. I have no explanation; it is puzzling. As some of you know, I have resigned from the iBisbee committee. I felt it was time for someone else to fill the seat. And I wanted more time to develop the Wire.  But I learned a great deal about the difficulty of economic development in Bisbee. The committee tried to develop projects that fell through. We tried outreach to convince developers of one kind or another to build in Bisbee, and they were not interested. We did some tours for developers and they shook their heads. We had some true experts come and assess our prospects for econ dev and they suggested Tourism related stuff.

As a result of these efforts, I've come to believe, reluctantly, that Tourism is the best way to develop economically. That's not to say econ dev won't happen organically, but not as a result of outreach, but more a result of happenstance.  I hope to write a summation about why I think concentrating on Tourism is the best economic hope in the near future. For now, suffice to say, we need a visitor center supervisor. And soon. It is too valuable a position to stay empty. Surprise! I have a suggestion about that...The City could hire two people, 20 hrs each as co-directors of the Viz Center (basically this is the main person(s) responsible for all city Tourism efforts). One person doing the data (computer stats, grants, keeping track of marketing deadlines and opportunities) the other person being the 'face' of tourism efforts (escorting travel writers, going to conferences, running the two offices, meeting with counterparts, doing media). I think this kind of arrangement would be good for Bisbee Tourism efforts  if the two people selected are a good match and jobs are clearly defined.  Former director Jen Luria, could be asked to help define the differing work.

I think that people active in business related to tourism should be an ad hoc hiring committee to assist the CM.My suggestion is based on experience with this kind of arrangement. When I was prez of the Chamber we hired two people to be the 'director'. They shared the job and did very well. (It wasn't for lack of their efforts that the Chamber limped to the grave. I hope to write a proper eulogy for the Chamber another time, there are several specific reasons why it died.) What would not be good is to hire an outside marketing company to 'market' Bisbee, thereby reducing local control of Tourism. That might be a bright shiny solution for some, but would be disastrous for Bisbee tourism.  To the barricades if that is proposed! And in response to tremendous demand for info about the Wire website  and a new email format (2 inquiries), it is coming along. It's me that's slow, not the wonderful Bridget who is constructing the info-heavy site. So maybe in a month it will be up for all to see. And even a new format possibly. The unsettling decision by a 4-3 vote of the council to not renew Cochise County Attorney's contract has led the City to  seek other possibilities for legal representation. The CCA's office has now withdrawn their request for an new contract with the City and in a letter to the City stated they would like early termination of the existing contract due to expire in June. The CC board of supes have voted to terminate the contract early, despite pleas from the mayor. The discussion indicated that since the Council was dissatisfied with the representation, there was no reason to continue it. The existing contract states that both parties must agree to early termination however. The council is due to take up the matter soon. The deadline has expired for the solicitation, Bids for Qualifications. No word on how many or who applicants were. I continue to believe that this was a major mistake, particularly on the part of experienced council people Cline and Lindstrom and that the result of stepping in this cowpie will be the stank wafting around the council throughout the year. And finally..jeez this is long winded...I'm taking an informal survey about how businesses are doing this year June-Dec compared to the Jan-May. I'm trying to figure out if tourism is declining. If you are a business could you send me a brief  rough percentage of  up or down during these times and your analysis of why. I would particularly appreciate some lodging occupancy percents. I have hear from four properties and 3 are down from 1-8% and 1 is up about 10%. In addition to tourism, am trying to figure out whether air b&b and VRBO has begun impacting traditional lodging negatively. fred

.............................. BISBEE ECONOMY

City data from Jen Luria/Viz Center, Joe Ward/building inspector, Housing from Bob Klein)

Houses Sold

(note this data comes from MLS listings and does not include owner sold homes that were not listed.)

The housing market continues to be very active. In comparison with November 2017: The number of houses on the market has dropped by about 22%. (122 to 94); the number of days a house was listed dropped 56% (295 to 167); 53% more houses sold (8 to 15); average sale price was up 59% ($116,212 to $194,433) however it took 55% longer to sell the houses (118 to 211).

In dollar terms sales for the period of December/17-nov/18 sales were $20,775,182. For the period December/16-nov 17 sales were $15,702,513. A 25% increase this past year.

Building Permits

October permit stats illustrate the strong aftermarket of housing sales as rebuilds, remodels, and repairs total almost $300,000. November saw a slight drop from 2017, but still is a strong finish to the year. Commercial activity, with the exception of Chirichua clinic spending that is significant-$1.5 million plus-remains anemic. $6500 in Nov.

Comparing Oct/18-Nov/17 that had 269 residential permits with the same period Oct/17-Nov/16 that had 241 permits, it is clear there is significantly more activity this past year. In dollar terms, permits for these same periods were up about 20%; $2,792,316 to $2,249,016; a difference of $543, 300. When December stats come in will do a roundup of the year.

Sales Tax

ADOR has begun releasing dollar figures for bed tax, restaurant/bar, retail tax info for cities as they did three years ago.

Understand that sales stats are usually two months behind. A business is obligated to file a Transaction Privilege Tax (TPT) form by the 21st of the month following the last full month of tax collections. So when data is compiled and sent out the figures are two months old in terms of when tax revenue was collected. I have asked for, but don’t think I will get, past months/years totals. That would give us some idea of how our economy is doing.

Mine Tour

Visitation was up in November about 5% over last November. For the 11 months of 2018 compared to 2017 and 2016 respectively, mine tours were down 628 and 1376. There is no breakdown of ticket sales (adults/minors) so cannot say if revenue is down although that would seem likely.

Unfortunately the mine tour gift shop is not included in stats so can’t say whether sales are up/down.

Visitor Center (VC) and Visitor Information Office (VIO)

This is the last report that Ms. Luria did before resigning. I hope the next supervisor does as well as Ms. Luria did in building social media use by visitors. Walkins at the VIO was down in November about 8% over last year. However more people are signing the guest book-throughout this year-and that gives valuable info for marketing purposes.

At the VC walkins were down about 300 peeps or 17% over last November. Almost the reverse of last month where walkins were up about 18%.

Social media continues to grow with significantly more Facebook page views and likes; an increase in Twitter followers, and 25% more instagram followers.

There was a significant drop in the website use in November over last year, about 1000 users less, l1500 less sessions, and 3000 less page views. However users spend about 3 minutes 17 seconds on site which is a significant amount of time perusing the site.

Correspondingly there was a drop of about 1000 users for all devices-desktop, mobile, tablets.

The number of newsletter subscribers continues to grow, from 3637 at the start of the year to 5551 in November. Some of that is due to signups at the VIO. The newsletter not only goes to past visitors, but also is sent to travel writers, media outlets, and other people that can amplify the content.

National Parks

Although Chiricahua and Coronado are in the county, a fair number of peeps visit coming or going from Bisbee. So occasionally I check the visitation.

For Chiricahua, there have been some fluctuating months this year however they are just about where they were cumulatively last year in October; 56,677/56,310 visitors, a gain of about .6% over last year.

For Coronado, visitation is down 20% from last year (97,478/122,018), a significant drop. Most months have a drop compared to 2017 and in that year May, June, July, numbers went down dramatically compared to 2016. Unsure of the cause, but visitation has not recovered.




Mark your calendar (January 12th at 5:00 PM) for an appetizer potluck/social event to learn what Old Bisbee Firewise, the City of Bisbee, its Fire Department and Cochise County are doing to protect you and your home from fire. Space is limited so guests must pre-register.  Please RSVP (with your name, address and phone number) by January 10th so we can send you additional information (i.e., the place) and formally invite you to this informative event. 

To RSVP and if you have questions, please go to; contact, or call Al Anderson at (520) 227-6504.


Open House Jan 20 1-4 pm

24 Howell (Presbyterian annex)

Explanation of wellness services/tour of facilities



(all open till filled) Visitor Center Manager Grounds keeperPublic works directorFirefighter/emtPolice officerCommunications/dispatcherQueen mine tour guide Accounting clerk ....................... WARREN RESIDENTS

There is a local network called nextdoor Warren if you are interested. Goings on in the Warren area; sales, suspicious stuff, lost dogs etc. Here is the link to join: ...................... BISBEE MENTIONS

These are some of the things that Ms. Luria, former Viz Center Super, helped with in promoting our town.

A Univision segment shot at the mine tour and  a follow up segment on the Bisbee Tour Company soon.


This post came out around Dec. 13th


This is a phone interview with drone shots and it aired in the Phoenix market


This came out mid December, a readers choice for best home tour.


And this blog came out in November

Banshee Pizza

BISBEE BEST DRIVERS IN AZ! ..........................


NEW BUSINESS OWNERS Carol Lokey has sold  Bisbee Books & Music to Craig Harzinski and Ken Mertes. Stop in and knock a greet to Bisbee's newest business owners. Specializing in regional books and a good stash of music. ...........................

RESTAURANT @207 TC A rezoning application from residential to commercial CM-1for 207 Tombstone Canyon has been approved. The owners of the property Dennis and Donna Gatten had to get a change of zoning before selling. Thuy's will be going into the space. The 1910 house, on the west side of High Desert Market, has had several incarnations, most notably  Stenzels (sp) restaurant for many years. ...........................

ART HOME.....MOVES ACROSS THE STREET Art Home Furniture and Realty has moved across to the street to a larger store at 79 Main. They have added some new furniture and have the space to stretch out. The Copper store, formerly in that location, has scaled down and their products are at LOOK! ........................


Casa Cobre LLC 101 Clawson Street Warren District Statutory Agent is:  Samuel L. Reed

Olivar Foundation Purpose: non-profit charitable activities targeting kids, seniors, veterans, disabled, and the low income in the community.

1 Hillcrest Dr. #2  

Bisbee, 85603

Statutary Agent:   DanielNdlovu

Notice of Formation Deeter Consulting LLC Business Address: 632 Tombstone Canyon  #1637 Management of the LLC: Joe Deeter



I've included this because the Tucson market impacts Bisbee. Lodging Performance Growing, But Slowly After three years of strong year-over-year increases in metro Tucson lodging revenue, the second half of 2018 is slowing—particularly for resorts. Resorts’ RevPAR (Revenue per available room) has grown 5% in 2018 with average daily rate up 6.4% and occupancy down 1.4%. Downtown (+21.3% RevPAR) and airport (+9.9% RevPAR) properties are leading the way for metro Tucson in 2018 RevPAR increases. Even with the slow down, metro Tucson’s 7.5% RevPAR increase in 2018 trails only Santa Fe (8.8%) among our competitive set cities.



Occasionally I print trustee sales. A trustee's sale is usually called at least 90 days before the sale is actually held. This occurs so that the person who is in default on his home loan still has time to get his financial situation straightened out to recover any potentially lost assets.A trustee's sale is much like an auction, except the property being sold is property that has been seized as a result of someone's failure to pay her bills. Generally, the buyer has to purchase the property sight unseen and is taking a significant risk in doing so.

You cannot simply show up and start bidding without registering for the sale first. You also have to show that you have sufficient funds to bid on the items you intend to win in the auction. This must typically be in the form of cash or a cashier's check. This is one reason the lender may choose the trustee's sale in the first place -- it will receive immediate cash payment for the property being auctioned off.

I get information about articles of incorporation, ownership changes, and auctions from the Public Notices in the Bisbee Observer (the and the Herald Review (

Supporting local journalism either by buying the papers or preferably a sub (both hard copy and/or online are available)  is a good way to ensure that the functions of government are publicized and scrutinized, local news of interest is accessible, public notices are obtainable, and community voices are heard.

For several years in a row the Repugnican AZ lege tries to make posting of these notices online only. Since government activities by law have to be posted, this is an attempt to restrict information so the public has one less opportunity to see what their representatives are doing. It not only deprives people of hard copies of these notices but also would take away needed revenue from newspapers of record. I'll try to keep you posted when the inevitable bill comes up. Go here for in depth explanation and importance of shining a light on government activities.


All sales are final and will occur at public auction to the highest bidder at the front entrance to the Cochise County Courthouse, 100 Quality Hill, Bisbee. Unless otherwise stated sales are at 11 am on the date indicated. Trustee Sale January/23/2019 459 SAN CRUZ DRIVE Original Principal Balance: $65,000.00 Original Trustor(s): JAMES E. MILLER

Trustee Sale January 31/2019 200 E VISTA STREET Original Principal Balance $502,500.00 original Trustor BOBBY B. WATKINS AND JANET E. WATKINS

Trustee Sale February14/2019 121 FORT HUACHUCA LANE Original Principal Balance $71,428.00 original Trustor JUAN J DORAME

Trustee Sale February 20/2019 325 PARK AVE Original Principal Balance $56,186.00 Original Trustor: LINDA MAE PECK Trustee Sale March 6, 2019 39 SPRING CANYON Original Principal Balance $174,859

Original Trustor: Si Ming Sio

Trustee Sale March 22, 2019

1286 S. BARNETT RD. Original Principal Balance $52,761 Original Trustor: Kenneth and Wanda Horch

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FOOTBALL FORECASTS Woe is me! I had Vikings and the Texans in a big dollar pool. Vikings didn't make the playoffs and the Texans got hosed by the Colts. I do have the Colts in a small dollar pool, but it is an uphill trudge for them....

And those zealous Packer fans, might cease grumbling now that a new head coach has been hire. Although going by name only, LaFleur (the flower), doesn't lead one to optimism. And it won't do much good if Green Bay front office doesn't get off their wallet. This was your sports commentary for the week. Go here for the stats....Most statistic heavy site. Generally among the best forecasters...

If you want to try and beat their computer program go here:

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