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Bisbee Wire #6/Bisbee Economy....sold houses/rooms for rent/sales tax woes/OB biz churn

editor: fred miller March 25, 2021 #6 March 2021


Ahhh yes...If you hadn't a calendar you would still know it is March in Bisbee by the comments moaning about traffic, lack of parking, crowded sidewalks, tortoise drivers, clueless people from 'the big cities', and more. March is usually busy cause of schools spring breaks, cabin fever in the still cold midwest/east, the advent of warm weather, and proximity of Bisbee. This year, as the light at the end of the tunnel nears and it really is not a train, peeps are scratching that itch to get out of the house and out of town. Wait though, is that green pokin through the color of money?

There is a fair amount of churn in OB, see below for lotsa details on that and more on the Bisbee economy.

If you have travel plans that involve auto rentals, check out the article below about high costs and scarce rentals the next several months.

I wish the Farmers Market administrator would issue a definitive public statement whether or not they will return to Vista park. Lotsa interest. boo coo speculation, and no communication. If they are not, hopefully some enterprising ontrapanoor will seize the opportunity and create a different market at the park. The city has made rational fee accommodations for recurring events and there is pent up demand, as it were.

Our City Manager, Theresa Coleman, unexpectedly lost her husband recently. If you would like to send a note, her email is:



The economic effects of the trump virus continue to reverberate in the city's financial condition. Similar to last year, the treasurer is projecting another deficit. Last year the city had a $500k deficit that was solved by the CARES act grant. This year Bisbee will receive $1.2 million in relief/stimulus money according to Senator Sinema. That could help balance the budget.

The city treasurer's February report mentions that: City sales tax revenue is $140,000 short of budget, Bed tax revenue is down about $31k. However about $400k remains for paving projects in the streets budget because revenue (including HURF funds and city sales tax) outpaced expenditures. The mine tour merch is doing ok although tours are down due to limited capacity, but that also means expenditures are under budget leaving a smallish gain in revenue. All other departments are around budget projections. From her report: "Summary of General Fund Status: Overall expenses are at 61.1% or $422,900 less than expected for this point in the FY. Revenues are at 59% leaving a negative net revenue over expense of $158,667. This is an approximately $37,000 increase in the shortfall over last month. Although revenue is almost $600,000 short of expected right now, overall the shortage in net revenue over expense is not as dismal. If expenditures continue to stay under budget through year-end the revenue shortfall can be compensated for. The revenues are looking at about a 9% shortfall by year end."

However with the $1.2 mil from the ARP that puts a different light on the budget woes. I suspect there will be plenty of suggestions to the city about how to spend the money.



With the 2.5% bump in bed tax, this is what all lodging, including air b&b, VRBO's should be charging)

Tax rates for Lodging in Bisbee

Bed tax City county state total

5% 3.5% 0.5% 5.6% 14.6%

Tax rates for non lodging Bisbee

City county state total non-med marijuana bought

3.5% 0.5% 5.6% 9.6% + 16%


SALES (for actual spending in December)

The main tourism categories were all up this month compared to last; Bed tax $4k, Hotel tax $4k, R/bar $6k, reflecting the travel itch. This was happening even though trump virus was escalating in December. Oddly enough retail was down about $17k, and Grocery down about $14k. Internet buying also slumped about $3k.


House prices are definitely going up, although it takes looking at several month sales, comparatively to see what is going. And prices are not the only stat that is important. Days on market, condition and location of the properties on the market also figure into it. As does the inventory of houses. When there is a shortage of properties on the market that tends to drive up prices. More expensive properties often stay on the market longer. One realtor told me there was only six houses in OB for sale and not under contract.There is probably the lowest number of houses for sale in Old Bisbee than ever before.

Residential real estate and remodeling have been the two sectors in Bisbee that has remained strong. In fact there has been little slowdown the past three years. 2019 and 2020 were very similar in that both years had about $21,000,000 in sold residential property.

Although there was a drop in house sales in January/21, likely due to the effects of the trump virus as well as post Xmas, six houses sold for $2,025,000 (3 houses on the vista sold for a combined $1 mil +). In comparison to Jan/20-10 houses were sold for $1,686,000 and January/19-11 sales for $1,718,001. Houses in January were on the market for a much shorter time.

Lotta action on the Vista/Warren in January...

$137,000 511B Mayer Av. ($139,00 list)

$275,000 600 Tombstone Cyn

$348,900 507 W Vista ST

$355,000 119 W Vista ST ($350,000 list)

$434,000 412 E Vista ST

$479,000 922 Upper Sims Rd. ($489,000 list)

Eleven houses and one commercial building sold in February for a combined total of $2,795,900-on the market an average of 73 days. That compares with Feb/20 sales of 13 houses at $1,858,000-on the market an average of 150 days and Feb/19 sales of 10 houses at $1,051,000-on market an average of 175 days.

February buys throughout Bisbee.

20 Wolverine St. $90,000 ($92,500 list)

326 Park Av $130,000 ($139,900 list)

104 Campbell $139,000 ($145,000 list)

1617 W. Fairway $140,00 ($135,000 list)

506 Brophy $168,000 ($170,000 list)

340 E. Border Rd. $169,000

725 B. Warren $237,500 ($235,000 list)

130 Brewery $265,000 ($275,000 list)

612 Tombstone Cyb $269,000

2371 W. Luna Nueva Rd $348,000 ($349,000 list)

1435 Peaceful Place Ln ($354,900 ($345,000 list)

7 Howell Av. (commercial) $485,000 ($495,000 list)



Unfortunately I have not been able to get permit info from the City for the past couple of months. There is plenty of activity apparent around town. Licensed contractors are in high demand.



The Copper Queen Annex has been sold. The three room plus huge suite will remain a guest hotel/inn and extensive renovations of the large suite have begun.

Old Times Bisbee antiques has opened in the former PepTec building.

The Bisbee Health and Fitness building in Warren has been sold and an antique store will open in that spot in a couple of months.

Kafka will open in the former bathtub coffee space 31 Subway on May 1. According to one of the owners, there will be an emphasis on quality espresso based drinks utilizing Old Bisbee Roasters and Thanksgiving Coffee out of Mendocino County. Initially the focus will be on the breakfast, lite lunches with house-made pastries, croissant sandwiches and bagels; 100% Vegetarian with Vegan options. If all goes well, look for an expansion into happy hour tapas, wines and beer.

Nick Night's Warm Hand Therapeutics massage business is looking for a new home after many years in the Allen Block building. If you know of an possible space, contact him at 520 255-1519 or

Gloria's Jewelry and Gemstones has closed her business at 86 Main. It had been a family business since 1984.

Mimosa Market will maybe, possibly close the end of the year. From a FB post, "This is not the town we came to live in. We will be closing by the end of the year. Our hearts are broken.."

Santiago's has closed temporarily due to lack of workers. Their website has this post "Due to crew shortages that have continued for months, we will close our doors temporarily and move all our staff to Bisbee’s Table for 7 day service and plenty of outdoor seating and a few of our most popular menu items. We will always maintain the highest standards of service and food. We hope to reopen when the business climate incentivizes people to get back to work. We appreciate your understanding and look forward to serving you again soon. The Page family and Crew"

Raven Apothecary has moved to 65 Brewery Ave.

Visions has opened in the former Va-Voom space. They have clothing designed by Jessica, the proprietor, woodworks including hanging wood shelves, jewellery, and ceramics. Jessica started out at the Farmers market, moved to a kiosk in the convention center, and now has the larger space.

Firewise demonstration garden is completed at the library annex in San Jose. Check it out

Kanopy has 30,000 films and docu. You can sign up for free with just your Bisbee library card...

The former American Legion building on Subway/Tack behind Roka is being renovated and will open as a pub.

The Warner Hotel has been bought, also will be renovated and will offer overnight rooms.

NABUR, the herald-Review's social media site has been slowly gaining participants, recently hitting 1,000 peeps. Give it a try, it is a good curated outlet that doesn't tolerate hate and snark.

Freeport McMoran through their Community Partner Panels, give quarterly updates for the cities where they have active properties. Although I didn't make the recent meet, usually there is a general presentation about how the company is doing, other updates pertinent to one of the 8 or so communities that have a FP presence, and some question answering. As the price of copper has steadily climbed, so has FM stock price, doubling in the past six months to about $31 a share.

As part of business uncertainty the past year, across their operations, they furloughed workers, lately hired some back and generally have adapted to changing technology and conditions. In Bisbee they offered the workforce buyouts of which about half the workers accepted. Robert, we hardly see you any more.

They continue to talk internally about what their role is in the Queen Mine Tour, management options, and the Foundation.

As far as a trail around the pit, they continue to evaluate options and liability for trails on FM property. (FM is very liability conscious ..Some years ago myself and several others, including the local boy scout troup, worked on making a trail overlooking Warren and airport road on FM property {with permission}, that would allow for public hiking and be a show area for mine reclamation areas-which are impressive. After working on hacking a trail for year, we were close to having it functional, had the signs worked up, but the suits from Phoenix came down and said it was a no-no cause of liability. Yuck! {I suspect not many lawyers were let go})



As part of a facebook discussion bout lots of people in town, but having difficult finding lodging and going to Tombstone or Sierra Vista, I posted these stats...) There are not all that many hotel/inn rooms in town. At one point a few years ago there were 250-300 rooms plus airb&b's/vrbos**. However the two motels in San Jose, the lodge and american suites, closed taking about 70 rooms off the market. Possibly adding to the perception of lack of rooms is that historically March is the busiest month of the year in Bisbee because of a confluence of spring break, cold season in the midwest and east, baseball spring training, and warming weather. Add pent up demand from the gradual recovery from the trump virus and there will be a lack of rooms.As proof, our 3-rooom copper city inn, will have about an 80% occupancy rate for March, about 10% less than 2019/2018, but up from 36% last March) There is a compelling case for a smallish hotel-under 50 rooms-with space for conference breakouts that could attract smaller conferences and retreats during the week, and keep some of the weekend business in Bisbee. **A partial update. I did some research, via phone and internet, and there are now 20 hotels/inns /b&b's with 203 rooms. There are 26 individual transient lodging places listed on I have yet to do the airb&b/vrbo rooms-which is way more difficult cause there are no addresses-but lets generously say about 100-150 rooms are added through those bookings, we have about 300-350 rooms in Bisbee for rent at any one time.



For 2020 Chiricahua NM was down 26.1% compared with 2019 while Coronado NM had 26k more visitors and was up 19.9% over 2019



F-N-G Brewing Company

57 Subway St.

Michael Albin

Andrew Washburn

Frontera Flowers

5288 Lead Str

Jade Young



SUMMER CAR RENTAL...SCARCE AND EXPENSIVE If you are going to travel this summer and rent a car please read this, your plans might change. Becasue of a shortage of new cars as well as used cars, the price of rentals has increased and the availability is more scarce. ............. Arizona Gives Day is April 6.

(early donations from March 16)

An opportunity to donate dough to the nonprofit of your choice. Unfortunately there are very few Bisbee nonprofits registered to receive donation and the window for registering is closed. (register in the fall of 2021 for next year) Here are some links to help. It is a painless way to donate and an easy way to for orgs to raise dough.

for nonprofit eligibility go here;



I got this out late so unfortunately there is little request to speak stuff. However you can contact our local representatives and voice your concern. Even if you think they don't listen, lotsa constituent comments can change their mind.

I neglected to source the info in the last Wire the information came from Melinda Merkel Iyer's invaluable weekly guide to bills being considered in the Arizona legislature. Go here for every week at the lege.

This week many bills restricting voting access, making petition gathering more arduous, purging early voter lists. This week there were a significant number of ZOMBIE BILLS that revive ideas that are better off dead and buried. Strikers, also called "strike-everything amendments," gut all existing text from bills that have already gotten partway through the legislative process, replacing it with new text that doesn't even have to be related, nor is referenced in the title. Strikers can revive dead bills, skip over parts of the public hearing process, advance unpopular ideas, or all of the above.

Many bills restricting voting access, petition gathering, expanding vouchers, tax breaks to rich people, taking body control from women, and many many more crappy ideas were attempting to be put into legislation and giving some of the the wankers at the lege state more power. (our cochise reps have submitted almost 100 bills between them in this session! Almost none pertained directly to cochise county except to raise the taxpayer cost of doing elections.)

This weekly newsletter will keep you informed of weekly going on. She summarizes bills in committee, bills coming up for votes. March 26 is the last day of committee meetings. After that right to speak will not be available. Go here to sign up. too can drive a stake through the zombies.



(from a variety of publications focused on recyling)

The recycle market in general is strong. Cities that continue full recycling will be in a better position than last year. The cost of hauling remains an impediment in rural areas but as prices increase, recycling will become, if not profitable, at least break even. As part of a discussion on Nextdoor,where someone had said that much recycling goes into the trash I looked up the price of cardboard (OCC in the vernacular-old corrugate cardboard) and scrap plastic, glass, and paper. Both were up considerably over early 2020 ($75 per ton/21 vs $25 per ton/20. The forecast is for higher prices because of increased demand. Several mills are adding capacity to meet demand. Even as China no longer buys, other countries have increased their buys leading to more exports over last year. The two main kinds of recycled plastic is coming back also with #1 increasing $35 a ton the past four months to $120 a ton in January. #2 plastic has risen to $322 a ton up $72. Several kinds of paper is also up as much as $35 per ton more than last year at this time.

However the better market does not necessarily translate to more dough for the recycling entity for two reasons. One of the big costs of recycling is transporting the stuff to a processing center. Another big cost is cross contamination. Putting regular garbage or plastic bags or wrong stuff in the right barrerls. This can cost the recycling entity as much as a 30% reduction in payout because of sorting costs.

It would be helpful to have a quarterly accounting of how the recycling program is doing.


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