One potential solution City Manager Reva Feldman found to keep the city’s budget balanced in the wake of the destructive (and costly) Woolsey Fire was the possibility of increasing the city’s taxes levied on visitors; namely, an increase to the transient occupancy tax (TOT), affecting hotel rooms and short-term rentals like Airbnbs.

Currently, the TOT rate is 12 percent; city staff have recommended an increase to 15 percent. That increase would have to be approved by voters in a special election, by a two-thirds (66.67 percent) margin.

The increase could mean a big payout for the city: according to a staff report, last fiscal year (2017-18) the city collected $2.3 million in TOT from hotels and motels and $2.4 million in TOT from short-term vacation rentals. 

On Tuesday, council requested city staff gather more information on the hotel and short-term rental taxes levied by nearby coastal cities, as they prepare to decide whether to call for a vote.

Earnest, Hotchkiss earn citizenship awards

Kasey Earnest, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu, and Malibu Seawolves swim coach Steve Hotchkiss were recently honored with the City of Malibu’s 2019 Jake Kuredjian Citizenship Award.

“The award has been given since 2002 to recognize individuals who give their time and resources to enhance the Parks and Recreation of the Malibu community,” Chair of Parks and Recreation Commission Judy Villablanca said, as she presented the award to Earnest and Hotchkiss at the Tuesday, May 28, Malibu City Council meeting.

Earnest has worked for the Boys & Girls Club for 15 years as the program director, then later as the executive director, overseeing the creation of the wellness center at Malibu High School. “Her work with the community during and after the Woolsey Fire included fundraising, family assistance, family financial support, mental wellness sessions and various other services which have significantly contributed to the community recovery after that event,” Villablanca said.

“Awards are wonderful but unnecessary, we’re all here doing what we can for all the same reasons. It’s such an amazing community to be a part of,” Earnest said. “I want to thank everyone who entrusted the Boys & Girls Club with the relief process and everyone who donated and participated in any capacity. I’m happy to be a part of it all.”

“I think one of the great things about our community is that we take time to the time recognize individuals within it,” Villablanca said. 

While Hotchkiss is affiliated with the Malibu Seawolves swimming as a coach, he has been as part of the Malibu aquatic community for more than 30 years, mentoring numerous Malibu athletes as a volunteer and in his professional career as a Los Angeles County lifeguard. 

“Thanks for the recognition, was never expecting it, it’s great in the honor of Jake [Kuredjian], thank you very much,” Hotchkiss said. “The city has helped us a lot especially recently, after the Woolsey Fire, we’ve appreciated all the help you have been able to give us and keep the program going.”

Villablanca took a photo with Earnest and Hotchkiss to recognize the individuals. 

The citizenship award was established in 2002 in honor of Deputy Hagop “Jake” Kuredjian, who was killed in the line of duty in 2001 after 17 years of service to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Local students named to Harry Barovsky Memorial Youth Commission

Malibu City Council appointed 23 local youths to take part in this year’s Harry Barovsky Memorial Youth Commission. The commission provides community services like planning an annual haunted house fundraiser and other events. This year’s commissioners include: 

Alana Adams 

Eden Amar

Harold Bema

Lloyd Bema 

Garrett Button 

Spencer Carr Reed

James Fisher

Mia Foster

Quinn Graham 

Gabi Kofsky

Sarah Konopaske 

Jocelyn Leinbach 

Luke Lindstrom 

Matthew Maischoss 

Luca Moore 

Takoda Moore

Cooper Norby 

Sophia O’ Brien 

Serena Perl 

Jacqueline Reynaga 

Nicole Reynaga 

Isabelle Voarino 

Luke Webster

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