Rim Fire hurts Lee Vining business

monosupervisorsBusinesses in Mono County, especially Lee Vining, have suffered this season due to the disastrous Rim Fire that closed Highway 120 for a time and now the government shutdown which closed Yosemite. Owners of one motel in Lee Vining are asking the Mono Supervisors for more time to pay Transient Occupancy Tax.

Tim and Kimberly Traynor, owners of Yosemite Gateway Motel, wrote a letter to the Supervisors to ask for help for all Mono County lodging businesses. The letter says more time to pay taxes would help businesses “recover from the devastating effect of the recent Rim Fire which ultimately led to the closing of a portion of the Tioga Road in Yosemite for over two weeks in the busiest part of our tourist season.”

The Traynors point out that the normal season is short and there is not a lot of recovery room to fall back on in a summer like this one. The Traynors say the losses have been devastating, and they are trying to find ways to come out of it “without losing everything.” The Traynors say they have been tax-paying business owners for nearly 25 years and find their letter not an easy one to write.

They ask specifically for short term relief for motel owners in Lee Vining. Their letter points out that the third quarter TOT comes due as their season is ending and it is the biggest TOT payment of the year – for them as high as $35,000. They ask that motels be allowed to pay third and fourth quarter TOT over a period of time in payments – interest only and no penalties.

Business realities are that there is virtually no income for the motels during winter months. The Traynors said the Mono Tax Collector said she could not help, so they wrote to the Board of Supervisors where this issue was scheduled for consideration today.

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Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
8 years ago

sugar magnolia…..Not my confusion…..I knew the park and park entrance was open from the Eastside on Tioga Pass…..The flashing Cal-Trans signs South of the Owens Valley,what the visitors and tourists from Sou Cal going to Yosemite were seeing had nothing stating that the east entrance was open 25 miles into… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

I can verify what you say, Wayne. I saw it too. That’s all it said – Tioga closed.
BK

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
8 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

Benett…Sad thing about it is our local visitor center was also telling visitors that Yosemite was closed…and that message,from the visitor center, was relayed to the local liquor stores,markets and quick-stops,thinking what they(the store clerks and owners) were being told was the way it was…. I actually got into an… Read more »

Eastside Dweller
Eastside Dweller
8 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

Even signs in Bishop were confusing. One day stating 25 miles east closure and one day stating closed period as I remember.

sugar magnolia
sugar magnolia
8 years ago

Basically, the Traynors are asking for a short term loan from the County. They collected tax money and now want to be able to use that money to pay their bills because they’ve had a bad year financially. I do feel for the Traynors (and others who the fires affected)… Read more »

Mark
Mark
8 years ago
Reply to  sugar magnolia

“They collected tax money and now want to be able to use that money to pay their bills because they’ve had a bad year financially.”

People have gone to jail for doing just that

Kimberly Traynor
Kimberly Traynor
8 years ago
Reply to  Mark

We are not suggesting that we not pay the TOT that we have collected from our guests – only that Mono County waive the steep penalties that we would be charged I it were not paid by the due date. We would still pay the TOT owed plus interest This… Read more »

Mark
Mark
8 years ago

Sounds fair to me Mrs Traynor. You have my support.

Shine
Shine
8 years ago

County should use any interest payments towards better signage and information to avoid this loss of business in future. How about a one winter exemption from, or reduction in TOT to help fill empty rooms?

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
8 years ago

Not only that,but the mis-information that was being handed out on Labor Day week-end,both from visitor’s centers,and how Cal-Trans had to state that HWY 120 was totally closed and making tourists believe with their flashing signs on HWY 395 Yosemite was closed too….on Lee Vining’s biggest tourism week-end of the… Read more »