Council 86s Hermosa Saloon

By Dan Blackburn

An appeal by the owner of Hermosa Beach’s only stand-alone bar for a lower tax rate was denied Tuesday by the City Council by a unanimous vote.

Ken Garmoe, whose Hermosa Saloon has been a fixture on Pacific Coast Highway for 46 years, told the council his establishment should be taxed as a retail business, and not “lumped in” with restaurants for tax purposes.

“This has been going on for 10 years,” he said, “because city officials have just dragged this out.”

Hermosa Saloon currently pays $6,016 annually in business taxes. Under the lower retail rate, Garmoe would pay $212 annually.

City Attorney Michael Jenkins advocated for maintaining Garmoe’s current tax rate.

“A bar is not a retail establishment, I think we can all agree on that,” said Jenkins, noting that tax rates for city businesses were established by a vote of residents. “The saloon is being taxed at the appropriate rate.”

Council member Justin Massey made a motion to keep the saloon’s tax rate at its current level. Stacey Armato provided the second.