Imperial Beach by the numbers:
Beach closings 2016: 30
Beach closings 2017: 70
Beach attendance 2016: 3.1 million
Beach attendance 2017: 2.3 million
The number of beach closings in Imperial Beach more than doubled in 2017 from the year before; attendance at the beaches fell by 800,000, a drop of 26 percent, according to city records.
Proceeds from the lodging tax, a 10 percent levy on overnight accommodations, still showed growth, albeit sluggish. The tax brought some $56,000 more into city coffers in 2017 than in 2016.
Still with us? The total yield from the room tax for the calendar year of 2014, the hotel's first year of operation, was $542,000, – some 60 percent more than 2013, before it opened. Then, in 2015, the total rose to $680,000, a jump in tax revenue of 25 percent. Then, down to $645,000 in 2016 and then up to $701,000 last year.
It's a grand total of $2.56 million from 2014 through 2017.
Now, when the city first started selling the notion of putting up $7 million of the $28 million price tag for a new, 78-room beachfront boutique resort hotel, the Pier South at 800 Seacoast Drive, officials projected that the entire ante would return in full to the city treasury in as few as 14 years (an average of $500,000 a year), or as many as 20 (an average of $350,000 per year).
Turns out that the average funneling through each year is around $385,000, meaning that at this rate the city gets the $7 million investment back in not 14, but 18 years.
The effort to clean up the beaches and the ocean got a start March 1 when Imperial Beach joined with the Port of San Diego and the city of Chula Vista to sue the International Boundary and Water Commission over an “almost continuous” flow of sewage from the Tijuana river. It's alleged that the laws on clean water and on resource conservation and recovery are being ignored.
Eight days later, March 9, KGTV, Channel 10, ran a story of a former border patrol agent saying that back in 2010 he contracted flesh-eating bacteria and nearly lost his arm after training in the waters off the Silver Strand that runs from Imperial Beach north into Coronado.