Calistoga - Net-Flow Corporation

Independently owned and published in Calistoga for Calistogans since 2002
May 15, 2015
u Remembering Dachau
Nick Hope revisits Nazi
concentration camp
u Herb Salinger
Hundreds attend fundraiser
and raise a glass to Herb
t St. Vincent beats Cats
Photo by Gene Duffy Jr
Softball team loses to
Mustangs 21-11
City contract Study shows Calistoga employees behind in salary, benefits
for reviewing n Compared to 11 neighboring communities
past TOT
By Pat Hampton
Tribune Publisher
n Audit of 39 lodging
places and 691 rooms
By Pat Hampton
Tribune Publisher
Well aware that transient occupancy taxes paid by lodging operators bring in $4.5 million to the
city’s general fund, the city council approved hiring an outside consultant to check the books of the
39 operators.
City manager Richard Spitler
said in his staff report that over the
years there have been several noncompliant incidents ranging from
delinquent payments of taxes or
penalties, violation of use permits
and fraud.
“It’s good practice to periodically conduct such an independent
‘audit’ of the records and reporting
of all of the lodging operators,”
Spitler said, adding that the last
one took place in 2007. He said he
recognized how stressful an audit
can be, but that “The process can
be done in a manner that has the
least disruption to the business and
provide a full review of the
The city code requires collection of TOT of 12 percent of the
room rental rate. An additional 2
percent is collected for marketing
efforts through the Tourism Bureau
Improvement District.
A January request for a proposal brought bids from three
agencies, and in March the city
council selected HdL from
Diamond Bar for not more than
$34,500. The company will review
See TOT AUDIT page 11
It appears the salaries of most
city employees is behind 17 percent in base pay and 16 percent
in total compensation compared
to neighboring cities, a survey
requested by the city council revealed.
Last September the city council
voted to hire Koff & Associates of
Emeryville to compare Calistoga
salaries and benefits to 11 comparator cities in Napa and Sonoma
counties and see where Calistoga’s
Below, father
and son stand by
a sculpture representing the death
Memories of imprisonment
in Nazi concentration camp
Looking at him, you would
never guess Calistogan Nick
Hope is 91-years-old.
Listening to him, you
would never believe this man,
with his positive outlook on
living, is the same person
who experienced life in the
infamous Dachau concentration camp in Germany during
From life as a slave laborer,
to diminishing to nearly 80
pounds, to watching so many
around him fall and never get
up, Hope remembers it all.
Now, seven decades after
Dachau’s liberation by U.S.
troops, Hope once again
walked through the gates of
the concentration camp where
so many of his early memories
took place.
Hope made his home in
Calistoga in 1961 and still
lives in the same home he
helped build with friend James
See HOPE page 11
for those who are far below the
median. For example, the fire chief
position today has a maximum
monthly salary of $8,912, but after
the comparison to other fire chiefs,
should be paid $13, 901 a month,
a difference of 35 percent. The
fire chief in Napa draws $24,070
a month and the Healdsburg fire
chief receives $20, 855.
The proposal also addressed the
police chief job currently drawing
$9,826 a month, proposing a bump
up to $13,198.
The report said if salaries are
adjusted to compete with other cities, it would attract new hires.
Nick Hope, 91,
and his son George
made the trip
back to Germany
together to join the
large-scale celebrations marking the
70th anniversary of
the liberation of the
Dachau concentration camp.
From the moment they set foot
off the plane in
Munich, the two
were given the
royal treatment, a
complete contrast to
what Hope endured
during the 1940’s.
Tribune Staff Writer
Don’t forget, Relay for Life
of Calistoga takes place this
weekend at the fairgrounds in
the center of the race track.
The event lasts from 9 a.m.
Saturday to 9 a.m. Sunday.
So far, 15 teams and 83 participants have raised $20,000.
Donations are welcome.
the study in advance of the council meeting, but have not met to
discuss it. “We will send them a
letter prior to June 2 asking about
a meeting to discuss the results of
the study,” Spitler said.
The cities used for comparison
were Healdsburg, St. Helena, Sebastopol, Yountville, Petaluma,
Windsor, Cloverdale, Sonoma,
American Canyon, Napa and Rohnert Park.
Mayor Chris Canning said the
last compensation study was done
in 1991.
Some of the proposed salary adjustments include suggested raises
Returning to the infamous Dachau concentration camp
By Amanda Rhodes
Relay for Life
compensations and classification
The results of the survey, which
cost $35,000, are not binding on
the city, city manager Richard
Spitler said at the May 5 meeting
where Katie Kaneko, president
of Koff & Associates delivered
the finished report. Spitler said
the survey was promised to city
workers and will be shared with
the three unions. “It’s a resource
document, it’s not binding on the
city,” he said. He said all of the
labor groups were given a copy of