Medina auto businesses seek tax on ‘gypsy dealers’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 May 2013 at 12:00 am

MEDINA – Medina car dealers who pay local property taxes are complaining about an out-of-town outfit that sets up for 10 days outside the Medina bowling alley.

The village requires a license fee for the transient business, but it pales in comparison to the taxes the local dealers pay.

“They should be regulated so we can level the playing field,” said Mark Kuhmann, the used car manager for Hartway Motors.

Kuhmann asked the Village Board to pass an ordinance for “transient retail merchants” that would increase their costs to sell in Medina. That would make the operations on par with the local merchants paying property taxes. It would also bring in tax revenue for the community, Kuhmann said.

The proposal would require a local tax on retail sales. That tax would be the same as other merchants pay in the village, which is about $50 per $1,000 of assessed property for village, county, town and school taxes.

That could be significant for the auto dealer, Transitowne, which has now had several “tent sales” in Medina. The company is rumored to have sold 80 vehicles in its latest 10-day sales event in Medina earlier this month. If those used vehicles sold for an average of $10,000 that would be $800,000 in total gross. At a $50 tax rate, the local governments would be due $40,000, according to the proposal submitted by Kuhmann on behalf of Hartway and Orleans Ford.

Medina Mayor Andrew Meier said the village would consider the proposal, which doesn’t impact non-profits.

“We’ll discuss it,” Meier told Kuhmann on Tuesday. “We want to make sure we don’t over-legislate.”

The proposal would also establish a minimum 1,000-foot buffer from the transient business and one that is selling similar merchandise in the village.

Kuhmann said other communities have approved similar legislation for “gypsy dealers.” Village officials asked their attorney, Matt Brooks, to look over the proposal.

“We all support our local businesses, but we have to operate within the law,” said Trustee Mark Irwin.