When is a bad business impact bad enough to get tax relief? The Mono Supervisors will ponder that question this week.
In November, the Mono Board turned down an appeal from the Yosemite Gateway Motel in search of a payment plan and no penalties for Transient Occupancy Tax. Now, the Board will look at an ordinance that would spell out how they handle any waiver of TOT penalties.
According to the Board agenda, this ordinance would clarify the Board’s discretionary authority to waive any penalty on TOT. The agenda says the Board would have to find “extraordinary circumstances” defined to include natural disasters like fires and floods.
In the case of the Lee Vining Motel, the owners claimed that the RIM Fire and closures of Yosemite heavily impacted their business income to the point that they needed relief. The majority of Supervisors concluded that a lot of businesses were impacted by the RIM Fire and that relief for one would not be fair to others.
On another tax item, the Board will also consider Finance Director Leslie Chapman’s idea to set up a tax appeal impound fund and authorize the impound of funds associated with pending appeals. Chapman’s department recommends that the Board set up the fund and authorize the impound of $2 million of secured taxes to offset anticipated tax appeal results from the last four years.
The agenda says by impounding $2 million of current secured taxes, the County will face a reduction of nearly $600,000 in current secured taxes for the current fiscal year. The rest of the $2 million would come out of taxes that go to the Town of Mammoth, the Water District and other special districts.
The agenda packet says the County Assessor informed the Finance Department of several major appeals over multiple years. Refunds could total more than $3 million. State Code allows the County to impounded disputed revenues.
Other agenda items include agreements on rehabilitation of 2.75 miles of Convict Lake Road, mostly paid for by the federal government. The total cost – $5.7 million. The Board will also hear about plans to improve Lee Vining Airport and Bryant Field this year.