Meeting Time: September 12, 2023 at 9:00am PDT

Agenda Item

4i) Discussion and Possible Action Including Direction to Staff Regarding an Increase to the Transient Occupancy Tax for Vacation Home Short Term Rentals in Mendocino County (Sponsor: Supervisor Haschak)

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    Glenn Schein at September 12, 2023 at 9:36am PDT

    With respect to the above item my thoughts are as follows:

    Item 4i is, at minimum, a discriminatory measure against Short Term Rental operators who benefit the very least from TOT and Mendocino County Tourism Commission’s Visit Mendocino campaigns funded by those very same TOT taxes. The logic of increasing lodging taxes on STR operators seems punitive and putting it to voters seems quite irresponsible and reflects poorly on members on this Board of Supervisors.

    In the future can we expect the BOS to propose a sales tax measure to raise sales tax on local coffee shops while levying a lesser sales tax on Starbucks?

    If the intent here is to act in the name of Mendocino “affordable housing” or “housing shortage” and create some anti-Airbnb sentiment, I believe this measure is ill-advised. Why not blame VRBO for the drought and Trip Advisor for the forest fires.

    In order to zero in on this complicated issue fairly, why not the move in this direction:

    Create a measure that would increase the TOT fees on STR’s and lodging owners owned by out of county property owners

    Decrease TOT fees for in-County STR and lodging owners.

    Eliminate all TOT fees on in-county home hosted STR’s when hosts live on the property while hosting guests.

    Home host’s who operate STRs get little to nothing from Tourism campaigns, are hyper-local and send guests back into the community to spend locally and generate more sales tax and goodwill.
    Additionally, NO HOUSING STOCK is impacted because home hosted STR’s rooms/units would never be available for full time rental. Hosted STR’s property ownership can be verified by the Mendocino County Tax Collector’s Office by the simple process of seeing property owner’s Homestead Exemption filing status.

    Thank you for your time,

    Glenn Schein