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Official: Delinquent motel taxes remain unpaid

POSTED: May 30, 2012 4:00 a.m.

Dawson County officials say a local motel owner still owes several thousand dollars in back taxes despite management's claims that most of the debt has been paid.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Comfort Inn on Beartooth Parkway was nearly $10,000 behind in hotel/motel taxes, according to Kaye Molden, the county's senior accountant.

Earlier this month, county commissioners voted to take legal action to recoup the $15,250 in delinquent taxes after Molden brought the issue to their attention.

While the taxes owed for January and February have since been received, Molden said an estimated nearly $10,000 remains outstanding.

She has previously said the taxes are payable at the time occupancy occurs, noting it is "not a hardship situation where they had to go and collect that money."

According to Molden, she made several attempts - including phone calls, e-mails and certified letters - to collect the money owed from January through April of this year.

Days after the commission's May 17 vote to pursue legal action, officials with the hotel said only April's taxes remain unpaid.

Molden countered that claim Friday afternoon.

"We have not yet received any additional payments from Comfort Inn," she wrote in an e-mail.

Molden has said the business, operated by Spectrum Management Inc., has an ongoing history of delinquent tax payments "running anywhere from 30 to 90 days late" and hasn't been current in the past 16 months.

According to the county's resolution on excise tax, penalties, interest and court fees could be added to the total owed.

At the commission's direction, the finance department is currently reviewing the county's fine structure, which Chairman Mike Berg said seemed low in comparison to those of neighboring areas.

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