Transient Room Tax (TRT) Testimony 10/11/12

by Wendy on October 15, 2012

by: Bradley T Waring

My name is Bradley Waring I am Executive Director of the Oregon RV Alliance, and I am a volunteer. I began the Alliance less than two years ago. The members represent some of the most successful, powerful and influential organizations and communities in Lane County and beyond.

We are a 501 C6, non-profit public/private partnership. Members are listed inside the front cover of the RV Resource Guide and on our website www.come Founding partners include Travel Lane County, Guaranty, Cottage Grove Chamber, Country Coach, South Willamette Wineries Association, Premier RV Resorts, Junction City Chamber, Les Schwab and the RV Dealers Assoc.(RVDA) to name a few. Our newest partners include Florence Chamber of Commerce, Sea Lion Caves, Coos Bay Chamber, Mill Casino, Redmond Chamber, Redmond Expo and Lane County Parks.

In these difficult times we are all trying to live within our means looking closely at your portfolio scrutinizing expenses and parsing the winners and losers. That is why we are here today to ensure that our resources are being wisely invested. But have you given any serious consideration to how to generate new revenues. What if you look in your portfolio and you discovered a perennially steady, dividend producing stock that you had forgotten about. A historically profitable blue chip stock that you did not even realize you had. Would you investigate further, or would you continue to ignore it? What if you found that this unpolished gem had been generating 15% of your revenue for years despite your lack of attention?

The RV Industry roots run especially deep in Lane County. Nearly every person I speak to knows of someone, or is related to someone, who was affected by the collapse of the RV Industry, during the Great Recession. There were no bailouts for the RV Industry. The RV Industry was once Lane County’s largest employer and one of the prime economic engines of the County and the state of Oregon, but the rumors of our demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Everyone knows that an existing customer is much easier to attract and retain than a new customer. RV Owners flocked here for years and number in the hundreds of thousands. These folks have been here before and may have already enjoyed some of our attractions. They simply need to be reminded to come back.

The ORVA mission is to expose RV Owners to the benefits of spending their Leisure and Recreation time here in Oregon. My purpose for starting the Alliance is to bring back the economic benefits of the RV Industry and put people back to work right here in Lane County. You see I had hundreds of friends employed in factories right here in Oregon, and someone needed to do something to bring the RV Industry back to the western RV Capital of the world, and I am uniquely qualified.

The RV Owner is so valuable to our community. The average age of 49 and the median income is 62k. RV ownership has increased since the recession and 8.5% of Americans with a car, own an RV too. You have all heard of the coveted baby boomers market so it should be no surprise that 21% of Americans recently expressed an interest in purchasing an RV in the future. Club members are even more affluent and they tend to gather in groups of 10 to 100 monthly and frequently thousands at a time. Currently the RV Industry is enjoying a record year in every category. RV businesses are thriving.

Manufacturing is up more than ten percent this year, Dealer Sales are up at shows and on the lots, and campgrounds are brimming with guests. RV Parks have been especially successful in both the Private and Public segments, some reporting 25% growth over last year. Even Warren Buffet is deeply invested in one of the biggest RV Companies(Keystone RV) with manufacturing operations here in Independence and Dallas.

For years Country Coach, Monaco and Guaranty were nationally recognized and admired brands, as well as some of the biggest and most successful companies in the RV Industry. Moreover that is still true today.

In fact Guaranty is the largest dealer in the country to survive the recession without filing for Bankruptcy, Monaco has recently opened new manufacturing facilities in Indiana, and Country Coach is planning to start building coaches again next year.

The Country Coach and Monaco brands have continued to be sought after in the used marketplace despite a sluggish economy. Junction City still continues to thrive in part due to the robust sales of these used brands, as well as the entrepreneurial spirit of some of the Industry Stars who have started brand new service and sales businesses all around us. See the article reprinted from the Register Guard, in the RV Resource Guide.

I encourage you to look more closely at the RV Industry. Until recently the largest economic engine in this County and a perennially high performing investment. Reinvest TRT taxes in the Industry from which they came and raise your revenue now, while you continue to cut expenses. This could be the opportunity you have been waiting for, or the one you missed. The choice is yours.

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