The state of California could enact legislation next year to begin requiring service industries such as plumbing and auto repair to charge sales tax instead of primarily retail, according to Arcadia City Manager Dominic Lazzaretto who shared with the Chamber board of directors this morning (Sept. 26, 2013) what he learned at the League of California Cities Annual Conference recently. Other states such as Hawai’i collect sales tax on 97% of all businesses as compared to 27% of businesses in California, although that tax is only 4% in Hawai’i compared to 7.5% in California (the additional sales tax is collected by the County and City to add up to 9.75%).
City Councilman Bob Harbicht reported that Gold Line construction continues on Santa Anita and First Ave, with the intersection at First Avenue and Santa Clara shut down earlier and more dramatically than planned. Metro Gold Line are quickly putting up signs and taking out ads to alert consumer that businesses are still open during construction.
School Board President Cung Nguyen proudly announced that there are 22 National Merit Finalist from Arcadia High School this year. These students will be attending top colleges such as Stanford, U.C. Berkeley, Harvard and MIT. A flier was handed out showing upcoming events at the Arcadia Performing Arts Center (below — click to enlarge).
Chamber President, Arlynn Robinson, Century 21 Earll Ltd. and Board Member Joan Francone of ORI Global announced the next Chamber building interior remodeling fundraiser event: A Day at the Races at Santa Anita Racetrack on Feb. 8. Ticket prices are not set at this time but they are looking for people to get involved. All proceeds from this event will go towards new furniture in the Chamber office.
Chamber C.E.O. Scott Hettrick, shared some preliminary results from the Taste of Arcadia event on Monday, September, 23: more than 1,000 tickets sold and an estimated 1,300 people in attendance including chefs, restaurant and business showcase vendor workers, dancers, entertainers and volunteers.
He also noted that the Chamber is in the process of putting together an Asian Outreach Committee involving some of larger businesses around town to reach out to the Asian businesses and also the Asian consumers.
Board Member and District Reports:
- L.A. County Arboretum: Richard Schulhof, C.E.O., announced the success of The Feast at Baldwin Ranch. Approximately 150 in attendance, featuring wine from San Antonio Winery. Filming at the Arboretum has increased with recent celebrities such as Clint Eastwood filming “Jersey Boys” and Katy Perry shooting her new music video and announcing the location on national TV.
The Arboretum Foundation, which hosted the Taste of Arcadia, will now be involved in running the admission process for the Arboretum and receive 50% of every dollar collected once a certain minimum threshold is reached for the County expenses.
- Downtown Business Association: Matt McSweeny of Matt Denny’s Ale House expressed his optimism for the newly-formed Community Benefits District. A new interim Board was elected at the first meeting and Sweeny was elected President. New City America is assisting in managing the set-up of the new non-profit organization.
- Methodist Hospital: Doneva Garcia, Communications Coordinator, announced the Oct. 5 Walk from Obesity, and the Crystal Ball on Oct 19. A new HealthSmart Magazine will be published twice a year.
- Santa Anita Racetrack: Live Racing starts Friday, Sept. 27 through Nov 3, announced Pete Siberell. Tram tours will start again on the weekends from 8:30 am – 9:45 am. For the next two weekends there will be Breeders’ Cup Prep Races which brings in many people from out of town. This weekend there is a KROQ Festival with food trucks. Many changes and updates are still in progress throughout the racetrack including the Chandelier room. All constructions will be completed by Breeders’ Cup.
- Westfield Santa Anita: Ramon Oseguera, General Manager, announced the opening Hai Di Lao restaurant along with Sweet XO which is a yogurt, candies, gifts and accessories store. Benihana restaurant is due to open this year along with MAC cosmetic store. Customer traffic is up nearly 10% over last year, he said.
- Real Estate Updates: Executive Director of Association of Realtors, Andrew Cooper, noted that the AAR now has more than 2,000 members. With his monthly handouts for August 2013 home re-sale activities, he noted that a slower market is expected in September and October due to an increase in interest rates and shortage of inventory, but overall numbers are still very strong.