Hello, Welcome to the New Year! Started off with a bang in DC, has been a bit lower key here in town. But a lot more festive. I spoke last issue about a tink tank. Likely will be slower developing than I hoped, mostly cause of my time and the need to get a website together. But still if you are hankering to do diligent research and to do something about the current sitch, let me know, I've got four others on a list. It's Birthday/Anniversary time.. Happy Birthday and Anniversary today to Bisbee, 116, incorporated January 9,1902. And Happy Birthday and Anniversary to Cafe Roka beginning 25 years on January 1 (It was a grand party). And my own anniversary of being in Bisbee and at Roka 24 years on January 6. A partial demise....Edible Baja mag has temporarily suspended operations, but the company is not dead. Last week there were rumors that they had folded and terminated staff. But according to Doug Biggers, publisher, el foldo news was premature. Plans were announced a couple months ago to transition to Baja Arizona mag as a larger media company, but apparently Biggers was unable to secure funding. According to an email, he is looking for new funding, possible new owers. And he wants to make freelancers and advertisers whole. Some bisbeeites were involved in the mag...Bridget Shanahan was one of their graphics people and was slated for a larger role in the new pub, Gretchen Baer has some of her paintings features. Stay tuned. Biggers lived in Bisbee for a time and was one of the prime movers in trying to build the Bisbee Royale as a music venue, which turned out to be a failed venture and led to the building being donated to KBRP. City department budgets will be developed in the next few months, if you want some input tell your department heads (http://www.bisbeeaz.gov/2151/Departments) and/or your councilperson (http://www.bisbeeaz.gov/2335/Mayor-and-Council) what your priorities are; library? parks? paying down PSPRS?, raises for employees?, increased tourism budget? streets? ???. Extensive historical econ stats are at the end. Fred <><><><<><><><><><><><> PUBLICITY ABOUT BISBEE Good Morning America had a travel writer from Frommers on and following on their earlier web/book recommendations for travel, suggested Bisbee as a place to go. (This happened because Jen Luria went to a travel writers meet and greet in LA-paid for out of her budget and that caused some people whined about the cost, spoke with reps including Frommers which resulted in Bisbee mentioned as one of 18 must sees in 2108 and one of Frommers on GMA! Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of pub.) Go here: https://www.yahoo.com/gma/ready-cheapest-time-fly-121804983--abc-news-travel.html Another short Bisbee mention in a larger article about tucson from travelocity: https://www.travelocity.com/inspire/9-reasons-why-we-were-dragged-kicking-and-screaming-from-this-desert-city/ Jen sums up media features about Bisbee in 2017. Go here: http://www.discoverbisbee.com/so/cM2tzku3?cid=0b610b07-f4fc-42a8-8b44-3f0de38030ef#/main <><><><><><><><><><><><>< COB EMPLOYMENT OPENINGS
go here for details on these jobs: http://www.bisbeeaz.gov/jobs.aspx
FIREFIGHTER - EMT or PARAMEDIC
Queen Mine GIFT SHOP ATTENDANT MINE TOUR TRAIN ATTENDANT- PART TIME OFFICE ASSISTANT - PART TIME QUEEN MINE TOUR
Police Department POLICE OFFICE4R
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY POLICE DEPARTMENT................................
(Sales info from Dr. Robert Carreira, Chief Economist Center for Economic Research weekly press release. www.CochiseEconomy.com City data from Jen Luria/Viz Center, Joe Ward/building inspector, Housing from Bob Klein. Note that sales stats are 3-4 months behind housing and building permits. And one other economic point to make, there is a wealth of statistical reports on the Center for Economic Research website http://www.cochiseeconomy.com/resources.html. Bank deposits, labor, stats, housing, hot links to organizations in the cities, county and state, and much more. It is an excellent resource. ) Lotsa stuff happening as the year closed out. The economic forum held in December (get a copy of the economic outlook at the viz info office) disgorged a ton of stats with the result of... hmmmmm some good positive signs but the City, as a result of years of poor planning choices, fiscal neglect, and objective conditions is in a financial slide that is proving difficult to arrest. CM Smith is looking to outside help for ideas about dealing with debt in a systematic way. (You can see his presentation here: http://www.bisbeeaz.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/4030 Public Safety Pensions are the main culprit, but that can only be dealt with in Phoenix.That does not bode well. We are at the mercy of a Legislature that seems, with few exceptions, to be economic dolts and guns/charter school navel-gazers. Unless there is a vocal uprising from rural communities combined with a plan for transitioning out of PSPRS system into ASRS, I don't see the kind of reforms necessary to help Bisbee. However Mayor Smith is assuming the chair of a rural mayors organization that is concentrating on PSPRS with a meeting scheduled for January. Perhaps some suggestions will emerge in time for lobbying during the lege session. Main Street continues to churn. Mule Mt. Magic formerly Czar minerals has moved out of 38 Main-the old Penny building. A gourmet food and olive oil business opened at 30 Main. 28 Main looks like there is some remodeling going on so likely something will appear. Leila of Cache, is at the end of her lease in May and will be moving has a big sale going on. 3/5 Main has no signs and no signs of movement.
Pam Rodriquez and Jeff Shriver at Acacia at 69 Main, which was slated to sell to Mark Jay now continue in business as Jay abruptly pulled out of the deal to buy the business. (This happened on the heels of a robbery at Acacia that netted thieves $35k in jewelry. They had hidden in the store till after closing, put a ledgehammer to six jewelry cases, broke out back window and escaped. [Note to businesses, check your store at closing.] Jay, a former Bisbee businessman has had businesses in several Main street locations and formerly was in the same building, the old Horse Hotel, before moving to Mexico. In addition to Jay, that site was previously occupied by Floyd Lillard who now owns Miners and Merchants antiques at 7 Main. A new clothing store has opened in one of the storefronts at 29 Main in the old Woolworth building. Gimme Shelter, a second hand store operated by the Friends of the Bisbee Animal Shelter, opened at 58 Main a couple of months ago. Sam/Po Gallery at 24 Main will be moving off Main onto Subway joining Black Sheep Imports, Tumbleweed Gypsy and a so-to-be coffee shop. (Maybe Subway should be called Off-Main since three of the business used to be on Main) And speaking of Subway, the city council issued a permit for Subway to be closed once a month from Friday at noon till Sunday at 6 pm. for a one year period. Vague plans of what may happen during closures...music, some pop up booths, food trucks? A recent council work session had quite a bit of robust discussion about mobile tourist tours in OB. Nothing decided but likely some regs will be forthcoming as a result. Housing... The housing market continues to be active. For anecdotal info...this past couple weeks at Roka I talked with two couples who have bought homes in December, two other couples actively looking, and another two couples scouting for retirement in a couple of years. According to a "sold analysis' (Not sure, but I think it only has homes listed through the Multiple Listing Service-MLS, not owner sold) the number of houses sold through November is about the same 126 as last year at this time 122. Two more homes sold this Nov. (8 to 6) compared to last with an average sale price about 4% lower than last Nov as well as being on the market 28 days longer (91 to 18). Unfortunately the reports I get do not break out location/number homes sold in Bisbee. (One of my favorite whines is that Bisbee realtors do not issue a monthly report detailing not only how many homes are sold but in what areas of Bisbee; what people are going to do with their new homes-live, investment, visit occasionally, rent, air b&b; how/where new owners heard about Bisbee; and other pertinent info. Something like that would really help to sharpen understanding of how Bisbee is changing. I would be glad to compile a report like that if I could get complete info.) Building Permits...Residential permits continue strong reflecting the housing market. Although the number of permits were fewer this year 21 vs 27, the dollar amount was about $70k more. In November there was the same number of commercial permits, seven, however the dollar difference from last year was huge due to remodels on Main St that accounts for the much greater volume totals this year. Even with partial results for December, it is $130k above last year. Total building permits this year are almost $1 million more that last year, ($4,017,944 to $3,183,612). Broken out...commercial permits in 2016 were $852,541, this year $1,438,945; a gain of almost $600,000. Residential permits were $2,208,178 in 2016, this year $2,578,999; a difference of $370k. Even accounting for some of this increase attributed to increased cost of building materials, possible higher labor costs, and single projects skewing costs, the figures indicate increased spending for remodeling and upgrades. (The building permits reporting has been changed because of a shift in responsibilities at the City. Unfortunately there is less information than previous reports. Hopefully there will be a return to the former format with more detail and perhaps a running total comparing years to date in residential and commercial permits.) Viz Center/Visitor Info Office...Some interesting year to year stats at the VC and the VIO if you look closely. Last year and this year viz center visits are about the same, however the the first full year of 2017 VIO registered 14k+ about 55% of the VC so when added on there was significant visitation over last year. That also leads to a looming decision whether to make the VIO the permanent main visitor info center and the VC a passive holder of info. As a result of guest book signing, Jen and her trusty assistant Rachael, have amassed a mailing list of more than 3000 for the Discover Bisbee newsletter. Social Media and discoverbisbee.com... Social media remains about the same, except for a bump in Facebook likes this year. The website, discoverbisbee.com had a slight drop, 6%, in visitors and a corresponding decrease of sessions. There also was a drop in the amount of time on the site; 2.89 minutes for 2017 vs 3.46 in 2016 averaged out although there were more page views in 2017 as well as more new sessions. (The half minute drop in time on the website could also be attributed to faster devices and speedier software. For instance the new Firefox browser is very quick.) A trend continues of an increase of web visitation by phone of about 8% this year. Surprisingly there was also a 20% increase via desktops, and an 11% increase in pads. Maybe not so surprising given the number of new sessions. Queen Mine tour...A decrease of 1282 people, about 3%, in 2017 could be a slight drop, or that could be accounted for by young children not allowed on the tour this year whereas in years past they were. Unfortunately the mine tour gift shop revenues are not included in the stats I get. Would be interesting to see if up or down. The task of moving the city run QMT and the Freeport mine lease into a Foundation will begin in earnest this year. There will be ample time for public input once the planning matures. I think this is a good thing because it will take the liability off the City and quite possibly develop the mine tour as one aspect of a much more attractive History and Contemporary Mining center or something on that order. National Mouments...The 21% increase in visit to Chirachua is good news. Cornando is down about 11%, likely due to some closures. (see Nov.) Still outdoor recreation visitation continues fairly strong. Sales...August is typically a slow month and that is borne out by the stats all negative for sales/restaurants/bars/lodging. However the previous two months showed strong positive sales. Accommodation sales continue to show wild swings and little correlation to the other sales categories. Anybody's guess. Change from goods to experiences...The quote below from an official in an important global capital investment firm indicates a change, because of technology, from consumption of goods to consumption of 'experiences' that began in cities and has now reached rural areas that succinctly identifies one source of the economic problems in Bisbee. However it also contains an odious, dominant opinion among capitalist producers (and those that mooch off producers like much of the financial world) about consumers; the view that humans are nothing but a collection of commodities (brands) that they wear or own. Branding creates an artificial hierarchical difference between people who use particular products (better) and those that don't (not as good). Stripped of our humanity, we are vessels to be filled by brands. "One trend that interests me is the change is spending habits from things to experiences which has accelerated during the past few years. That's driven by three points; Experiences are easier to buy when you can digitally pre-shop for them; experiences are more valuable to people if they can be shared...;and while we used to spend money to brand ourselves with the things we wore or used, today people are branding themselves with the experiences they have that can be immediately broadcast to their friends. It's a technologically enabled change in behaviors which creates investment opportunities." (J. Coulter TPG Capital Bloomberg NewsNov. 6) <><><><><><><><><><><FM><><><><><><> House Sales