FARMINGTON — To keep area hotel rooms full and off-base Hill Air Force Base visitors comfortable, the Office of Community and Economic Development in Davis County is working on a memorandum of understanding with the 75th Air Base Wing.
The agreement, adopted Tuesday by the Davis County Commission, in essence rolls out the red carpet for groups visiting Hill and needing lodging, because cuts in federal funds have reduced the amount of on-base lodging available for such visitors.
The memorandum of understanding, which “establishes an operating procedure between the base and Davis County,” awaits base official approval, according to county officials. But base officials see the deal as a benefit to both parties.
“Hill Air Force Base enjoys the benefits of strong community partnership and support,” the base said in a prepared statement. “This agreement expands opportunities for local hotels to participate in Hill’s commercial lodging program by allowing those on official government travel to seek off-base lodging support when on-base lodging is at full capacity. This lodging agreement benefits both Hill and the local community.”
The memorandum provides guidance on facilitating off-base groups’ lodging inquiries by the 75th Air Base Wing with commercial lodging establishments affiliated with the county, Davis County Director of Tourism and Events Randy Cook said.
Off-base groups requested 17,000 hotel room nights last year, with 11,000 of those stays taking place in Davis County, or roughly 66 percent, Cook said.
“I think we won out more than not because of variety and proximity,” Davis County Director of Community and Economic Development Kent Sulser said of the percentages.
“The memorandum of understanding we have is almost identical to the one Weber County has in place (with the base),” Sulser said.
Due to cuts in federal funding, the base no longer has the staff available to facilitate accommodations for off-base groups that may be visiting, Sulser said, and this is Davis County’s way of helping facilitate that work.
“It is a great service to the base,” County Commissioner Louenda Downs said.
The agreement is nonbinding for both parties, and has to be renewed annually for both parties, Cook said.
The memorandum also says Davis County will have no input into commercial lodging establishments’ rates, nor will it share those rates with competing commercial lodging businesses.