I recently wrote two checks to the City of Mill Valley related to using one room in my small home as a short-term rental.
The first check was a three-part annual assessment for $69, including a $50 registration fee and a $15 “living accommodation” tax. The state extracts $4 for disability access.
The second check was a monthly Transient Occupancy Tax. Mill Valley taxes 10% on gross rental income and collects a 2% tourism tax. Every month I shell out a couple hundred bucks. For what?
Before Airbnb, four of us lived in the house. I paid property taxes to cover city services like fire, police, roads and parks. Now it’s just me and occasional Airbnb guests. I still pay property taxes, but now the city takes an additional 12%.
My payments to the city, perhaps like those of other retired Airbnb providers, come from a modest Social Security income and Airbnb revenue. Perhaps the city needs nickles and dimes to cover high city salaries and pensions.
The Transparent California website, for example, reveals that the city council has approved annual pay and benefits for the city manager of $336,508. Two fire battalion chiefs rake in $362,000 and $324,000. Mill Valley has 10 staffers who are accruing $250,000 or more in pay and benefits and an additional 22 who are in the $200,000-$249,000 range. Really? How is this sustainable?
No wonder real estate agents in Texas are busy.