Town enforces T.O.T.
Town staff is moving into the next phase of the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) enforcement program. We are now contacting property owners who are renting their units illegally or renting without paying TOT. A business tax certificate and transient occupancy tax certificate are both required to rent a unit within a permitted zone. If a unit is in a non-permitted zone, transient rental is not permitted, however, TOT is still due on rentals that have occurred illegally in the past.
Since mailing of the Sept. 8 “Rental Enforcement Notice,” we have been receiving about 25 calls from concerned citizens each week through emails and our anonymous tip line (760.934.8989 ext. 275). We are also conducting online research and have established a number of enforcement cases through this research. Town staff are following up on these cases at this time.
The Town values visitors’ experiences and wants to make sure they are accommodated if existing rentals are cancelled. The Mammoth Lakes Tourism website www.visitmammoth.com includes a section on accommodations within Mammoth and will allow guests to secure another location within town for their vacation.
If you have questions about TOT contact the Finance Department at 760.934.8989 ext. 273. If you have zoning questions or would like to know if it is legal to rent your home, contact the Community Development Department at 760.934.8989 ext. 275. -TOML
Broken wind – Firms pull apps
Two firms investigating potential wind energy in eastern California have withdrawn their requests to install monitoring towers on public lands. The firms proposed to install 200-foot-tall wind monitoring towers for three-year testing periods to collect wind speed and direction data and other weather information.
The Bureau of Land Management’s Bishop Field Office this week approved requests from ENEL (Padoma) and EWind Farms to withdraw their proposed wind energy type II monitoring right-of-way applications for the Adobe Valley and Granite Mountain public land areas. These cases have been closed.
“We appreciate the time and energy spent by people interested in these proposals through written comments, attending public meetings, and participating in the field exam,” said Bernadette Lovato, BLM Bishop Field Office manager.
Info: contact Larry Primosch, Bishop Field Office, 760.872.5031. –BLM
Cluster box controversy
The Inyo County Board of Supervisors had a bone to pick with the U.S. Postal Service at Tuesday’s meeting in Independence. The Board took issue with how the USPS had handled installing cluster boxes in Darwin to allow the town residents to continue receiving mail after their post office is closed. This year the USPS announced that, due to lack of revenue, it would be closing as many as 3,700 post offices around the country, many in rural areas. In Inyo County, Darwin is the first community to suffer a closure.
“They wanted to install the boxes [on county property] right away,” explained Public Works Director Doug Wilson, who was present at Tuesday’s meeting to provide the Board with an update. “The county process is that you must get an encroachment permit first, which allows you to encroach on the county right-of-way.” With that encroachment permit comes the stipulation that “whoever is encroaching on the right-of-way has to take on the risk.” However, according the Wilson, originally the USPS was not planning on getting the encroachment permit, nor was it willing to indemnify the county.
In fact, said District 5 Supervisor Richard Cervantes, the USPS “sent somebody out there to pour the concrete base for the mailboxes” before the USPS had either applied for a permit or agreed to indemnify. “People ran them off,” Cervantes said.
Public Works Director Wilson reported that the USPS has now come around to the permit, and had submitted an email with proposed indemnification language to the county on Monday. The Board agreed to review the language. If it was adequate, the cluster boxes could be installed at Darwin. If the language is found inadequate, the issue will go back to the Board.
“People need their mail,” said District 1 Supervisor Linda Arcularius, “so hopefully we can figure this out.” –Vane