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Madera County supervisors OK agreement with Airbnb

John Rieping/The Madera Tribune

Madera County supervisors present a proclamation honoring local Stephen Serrano for qualifying and participating in the Boston Marathon this year. The board also declared August to be Child Support Awareness Month.


Madera County supervisors unanimously voted to enter a voluntary tax collection agreement with Airbnb this week.

Under the agreement, Airbnb — a short-term rental website and smartphone app — would bill the area’s rural Transient Occupancy Taxes of 9 percent, but not the Tourism Business Improvement District taxes of 2 percent, due to a technical difficulty in doing so with its software.

The item was only one of more than 40 approved at the board’s regular meeting, and all but one — salary hikes for County Administrative Officer Eric Fleming — were unanimous votes.

Fleming’s two salary increases were based on his job performance and increased duties due to an unfilled vacancy for the chief of development services position. The chief normally manages the county’s Office of Development Services and provides staff assistance to the board and county administrative officer.

Supervisor Robert Poythress supported the performance-based salary increase, but objected to the one based on assumed duties, which he said is “far from a normal (business) practice.” He also said that Fleming did not request the salary increase.

“I think it sets a really bad precedent ... if you look at our other divisions within the county,” Poythress said. “For instance, let’s say our sheriff has some key people leave the sheriff’s department. If he decides to wait awhile before he replaces those positions, does that mean he deserves additional compensation? … The other thing is what happens if others leave? … By all rights we’d have to increase his salary even more until those are replaced.”

Supervisor Tom Wheeler said the situation came up because the board asked Fleming to take on the greater duties “not only to save money but also to see if this is the route we wanted to go.”

“This is not set in stone. Those (salary increases) go away if we fill those positions … This is a small amount of dollars we’re paying” compared to what is being saved, he said.

Other decisions made by the board include:

  • The county will make a $50,000 contribution to the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority, which was established in 2015 to obtain funding for area water infrastructure projects.

  • The county recognized the former Madera County Library, 135 N. Yosemite Ave., as a local historic and architectural landmark, and accepted a historic survey written by Paul Halajian Architects of Fresno. This opens up alternative ways to meet state health and safety standards in the future, and that will make it easier to include it in plans for a proposed fine arts center project.

  • The county’s Probation Department will enter a 90-day pilot program with cFive Solutions, which offers the Catalyst Software Program for iOS and Android phones. The mobile app helps the county communicate securely with clients with random check-ins, curfew checks, automated monitoring and more.

  • The county appointed Dennis Koch as its interim public health director, the duties of which he’d already been fulfilling and being paid for.

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