Citizens talk cuts, services and new taxes

When the Mammoth Town Council met last Thursday night, none of the private anger, threats of re-call or blistering condemnations about government cuts made it to the public forum. The atmosphere was civil and for several hours, citizens did stand up to support specific services. Some strongly stood up for new taxes to help pay off the big $29.5 million debt. Others said whatever happens, the town’s people have to pull together.

Privately, more than a few citizens have nearly foamed at the mouth over the proposed cut of seven police officers, Whitmore pool and other jobs. Officials have made it clear that something has to go to come up with the $2 million annual payments to MLLA.

Assistant Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez literally let her usually severe hair style down around her shoulders and the tone of the public talk was relaxed too. Martinez told the crowded room that the Council could not currently balance the budget on taxes that have not been voted on nor on tax measure money earlier committed to other things.

She did spell out the possibility of an admission tax on lift tickets and other event tickets, an increased utility tax and sales tax plus an additional parcel tax. All of that could raise as much as $5 million per year. On top of that, another option is to allow more single family homes to do transient rentals for more taxes. Martinez also made it clear that the Town is down to the limit and needs to build strong reserves. She said that cuts have to happen as soon as possible and that new taxes would take time to collect.

People lined up against the wall of the Council chambers and one after another, gave a view of the tough situation. Sean Turner, business owner and recreation commissioner supported cuts and borrowing from tax measures. Former Councilman Kirk Stapp said it is his personal belief that Mammoth Mountain is partially responsible for the lawsuit judgment and so a lift ticket tax is appropriate. If not a new tax, he said, shift current tax measure money. Stapp said, “Without taxes, services will be drastically reduced.”

Others spoke against more single family homes renting out to tourists. Still others supported funding Mammoth Lakes Housing to maintain what amounts to a multi-million dollar asset in the Town’s infrastructure – low income apartments and homes.

Mono Supervisor Larry Johnston who is the Vice Chairman of Mammoth Lakes Housing, called the organization an economic machine that has generated $68 million in the community.
Asked by Councilman Rick Wood if Mono County would help the Town keep Whitmore Pool open, Johnston said the County already spends $120,000 on Whitmore and has agreed to pay $65,000 more to help the Town keep the Animal Shelter. He did say if the Town would make a formal request for help, the Supervisors would be happy to consider it. But he made it clear that the County government is “not much above water.”

Then Flossie Coulter, long time resident and co-founder of the Jazz Jubilee, laid out the evening’s game changer. She said pass tax measures and get out of the problem a lot sooner. Coulter said, “You can put the blame wherever you want on this lawsuit, but we’re all in this together.” Rick Wood asked her if she thought the community would support new taxes. Coulter said, “It would take a lot of work, but I don’t see a better alternative.” She said with the new taxes Mammoth could keep its police and recreation facilities. Said Coulter, “We could keep the things a viable community needs.”

Johnny Goetz agreed that if the community “works as a team we can make it happen.” Goetz said $29.5 million is a lot of money but “nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity.” Some said it would be a tough climate in which to raise taxes. Still others did support new taxes.

To recent talk that the Town should get rid of one or both of its expensive managers – Dave Wilbrecht and Marianna Marysheva-Martinez who cost more than half a million combined – Mayor Matthew Lehman stood up for them. He said they work all hours of the night on issues that are far more complex than people think.

Now the issue moves on to a November 7th Council meeting for deliberations over cuts and plans. The public will be invited to comment and question then, too. Final decisions are set for December 5th.

 

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46 Responses to Citizens talk cuts, services and new taxes

  1. cl October 20, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    Oh so since we can’t make it to the meetings to foam at the mouth in front of all to see we must not be serious eh? Town council you guys are so ridiculous. And “Mayor” Lehman you’re such a schmoozer. Why don’t you publicize how the two town managers spend their time and what exactly we get for half a mill besides more BS spoon fed to us. Be a mayor and listen to your citizens regardless of how they voice their opinions

     
    • One Big incestual club October 21, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

      We elect the council.
      What this means is those councilmen can do what they please with our money, behind closed doors or in the open field.
      Everything is stacked in the councilmen’s favor. They can make side deals. They can push through developments that make the councilmen rich.They can bribe, swindle, cajole and be as corrupt as they’d like knowing nobody can stop them.
      Think one, big, incestual private club and you’ve defined local government in this town.

       
    • Mike October 21, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

      If you made it to the meetings then you would have heard how the town managers are spending their time, and if you attended then you could have spoken up in person so you could be heard. I did. Plenty of others did.

       
  2. Tourbillon October 20, 2012 at 8:07 pm #

    Federal taxes are going up for everyone come January 1. State tax hikes look like they are winning in the polls as well, and those are retroactive to last January. So Coulter’s solution – raise local Mammoth taxes in addition – is a retrograde 30s style statist dream come true. You didn’t build that Citizen, so fork it over to the state, Citizen. It is now unquestioned convention, accepted uncritically: whatever else happens, government must never, ever, contemplate shrinking. It’s the only growth business left in America.

     
    • Bert4 October 24, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

      Well said.

       
  3. firsttime October 20, 2012 at 10:34 pm #

    Mr Mayor, the two road workers you laid off worked all hours of the night too, but for a lot less money.

     
    • firsttime October 22, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

      And at the end of the day, you can see the work they did

       
  4. concerned October 20, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    Grow a backbone and stand up to the town managers. Take $125,000 each and that is 1/4 of a million dollars. quit with the crazy talk and start cutting salaries. It doesnt matter if they work long hours, we all do.

     
  5. concerned October 21, 2012 at 7:05 am #

    who cares how someone wore their hair. This manager is getting the wrong attention. It is comical actually, whats going on. These people are taking huge money from the town with their crazy pay, cutting your law enforcement and telling the town people how their future will be. LOL. Mammoth doesnt stand a chance if it doesnt grow up and learn to operate on its own. Good luck with that!

     
    • Benett Kessler October 21, 2012 at 11:00 am #

      Dear concerned,

      Personal details of public officials sometimes reveal something of importance. Even hair styles. Flip responses can miss the mark. Calm observation can help with understanding.
      Benett Kessler

       
  6. J.J. October 21, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    Vote with your money, that is all these town leaders are interested in.

    VOTE NO ON ANY NEW TAXES !

    Cut tourism and airport funding to pay the MLLA settlement. Business interest can figure out how to get their air customers without the voters tax dollars.

    Cut town management salaries by 25% immediately. Just because they take turns patting each other on the back, doesn’t make it true. Pay should be based on performance, which has been marginal at best.

    Cut town councils medical and monthly stipend to keep the Whitmore pool open.

    There is enough money to fund the basic services in town like police and the pool. The town is being duped by these pro tax to support my business people, town politicians and the tax them because we’ll be gone soon town management.

    Only a village of idiots would vote to give theses incompetents more money to support the lifestyles they’ve become accustomed too.

    The taxpayers of Mammoth should ask themselves if their quality of life continues to evaporate because of poor fiscal management or because they’re taxed to little?

     
  7. Put up or Shut up! October 21, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    Ive got an idea.

    The “Managers” don’t know how to manage without surveys.

    No one wants to loose any of their “pet” projects, so…

    Tax every mixed drink and beer served in Mammoth one dollar.
    The entire bill would be paid in less than a year.

    Because… the council and staff had to be drunk when they spent 8 million to get into bankruptcy just to hatch this sour deal on our community.

     
    • Keeping It Real October 22, 2012 at 10:40 am #

      @ Put up

      A dollar a shot or pint for the town is an insanely simple solution to the $ problem.
      Most of the money spent on the Cops in the evenings is over alcohol related indents.
      Most of the problems in residential neighborhoods with adjacent dwellings is over partying.

      The whole deal is to protect our children, isn’t it?

      Make them share the burden of the problem they create.

      Sometimes the simplest solution is the best one.

       
  8. SierraFan October 21, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    Regarding the negative comments on MMM and Dave,

    Most of the comments are understandable in the eyes of “the regular Joe or Jane” here but truthfully, we should be thanking those that hired MMM as well as MMM! Her job was to come in and dissect every inch of our town’s operations, budget, etc. and to tell those that hired her that they essentially were wrong in their/our financial house! It’s apparent that there wasn’t a local body that was up to the task of telling the hard truth without alienating themselves from the townspeople. Who here was up to this task?? Being criticized for every idea, decision and working all ours of the day and night? Yes, other’s work these same ours for less pay but I’m pretty sure the job doesn’t require them to put their reputation and career on the line as she has done. MMM has worked to save this town from total ruin and yet she’s criticized by those folks here for doing her job… and a good one at that! So instead of chasing her out because we feel she’s paid way too much money, we should be thanking her for saving our A.. and telling the truth for once!

     
    • upthecreek October 21, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

      so if she is doing such a great job…why does mammoth need two town managers?

      what a waste

      govt gone wild

       
      • CORRUPTION 101 October 22, 2012 at 10:05 am #

        Types of Corruption Found in Local Government

        There are several types of political corruption that occur in local government. Some are more common than others, and some are more prevalent to local governments than to larger segments of government. Local governments may be more susceptible to corruption because interactions between private individuals and officials happen at greater levels of intimacy and with more frequency at more decentralized levels. Forms of corruption pertaining to money like bribery, extortion, embezzlement, and graft are found in local government systems. Other forms of political corruption are nepotism and patronage systems. One historical example was the Black Horse Cavalry a group of New York state legislators accused of blackmailing corporations.

        BRIBERY is the offering of something which is most often money but can also be goods or services in order to gain an unfair advantage. Common advantages can be to sway a person’s opinion, action, or decision, reduce amounts fees collected, speed up a government grants, or change outcomes of legal processes.

        EXTORTION is threatening or inflicting harm to a person, their reputation, or their property in order to unjustly obtain money, actions, services, or other goods from that person. Blackmail is a form of extortion.

        EMBEZZLEMENT is the illegal taking or appropriation of money or property that has been entrusted to a person but is actually owned by another. In political terms this is called graft which is when a political office holder unlawfully uses public funds for personal purposes.

        NEPOTISM is the practice or inclination to favor a group or person who is a relative when giving promotions, jobs, raises, and other benefits to employees. This is often based on the concept of familism which is believing that a person must always respect and favor family in all situations including those pertaining to politics and business. This leads some political officials to give privileges and positions of authority to relatives based on relationships and regardless of their actual abilities.

        PATRONAGE systems consist of the granting favors, contracts, or appointments to positions by a local public office holder or candidate for a political office in return for political support. Many times patronage is used to gain support and votes in elections or in passing legislation. Patronage systems disregard the formal rules of a local government and use personal instead of formalized channels to gain an advantage.

        Demographic factors Causing Corruption

        Socioeconomic characteristics and the size of the population of people that make up a municipality can be encouraging factors for local government officials to engage in corrupt practices. Patterns of political corruption can be found in places that have a similar demographic make-up. Demographic factors that have been known to lead to or increase the likelihood of corruption in a local government system are religion, race, class, size of the municipality, local economic conditions, education, political culture, and gender. Some factors are interrelated or can lead to other factors which may cause more corruption.

        Size of a Municipality

        Smaller municipalities tend to encourage corruption to take place within a local government. Smaller municipalities require more local officials to represent and run the local government. With more officials, it is harder to keep tabs on each one and establish a decent administration and to monitor their activities. Small municipalities may also have inadequate or insufficient policing and prosecution of corrupt local officials. This also encourages corruption to occur in local government because there is less likelihood of either getting caught or prosecuted, therefore, more officials may become dishonest or at least be tempted to.

        Condition of the Local Economy

        Low economic development has been found to be an encouraging factor for political corruption. Economic practices like dependence on raw material industries and drug trades are characteristic of poorer cities and areas with increased amounts of corruption. Economic dependence on certain industries will also lead to less stable governments and less amount of money available to fund governments. Fragile economies lead to increased levels of poverty and less opportunities to get out of poverty. Poverty is a known factor that encourages corruption in local governments. Places with failing economies and poverty sometimes get loans or start aid programs to support the local economy and the people, and public officials are often able to unlawfully take the money or goods for private gain. With less money available, local officials are more likely to get lower wages which is seen as another factor that leads to corruption. Officials who get lower wages which are not enough to provide for their necessities, they will many times become corrupt and try something like embezzling money that may entrusted to them in the local treasury. Low wages can cause economic insecurity and encourage politicians to take advantage of current opportunities as a public figure of authority. On the other hand, some researchers argue that the more money a local government has to spend, the more tendency it will have to do so inefficiently, which can lead to suspicions of corruption. Overall, poorer municipalities are more often perceived to have corrupt local governments than rich ones.

        Education

        Lower levels of education which are often caused by poverty are seen as a factor which encourages corrupt government practices. With less amounts of education people are not informed as to how the government works or what rights they have under the government. It is easier for corrupt office-holders to conceal corrupt activities from a poorly educated public. Uneducated citizens are less likely to be aware of corruption in local governments or how to stop it, and therefore, corruption is able to remain and spread. Without some kind of political awareness, citizens will not know which candidates to elect that are honest or dishonest or other ways to prevent corruption from taking place in their local governments. This often leads municipalities to be continually governed by one or more corrupt local officials who use patronage or nepotistic practices to stay in office or keep influence in the government for long periods of time. When local political leaders are less educated, they will be less likely to find legitimate ways to make the municipality well-structured, productive, and successful.

        Political Culture of the Municipality

        Many local governments have an established political culture with certain expectations and practices that often determine what is seen as acceptable and not acceptable in local politics. In municipalities with an undeveloped or underdeveloped political culture, accountability and legitimacy is usually low and principles of ethics in government are not established. This can encourage corruption to take hold in the local government because citizens do not know what is considered corrupt, and local officials are not afraid to be corrupt because of the low accountability. In some places the local governments have been corrupt for so long that the citizens think that is how it is supposed to work because that is all they have been exposed to. Long periods of political instability will also lead to corruption in the government because people are unsure of how the government should operate, and thus do not know what practices are corrupt or how to stop them if they are corrupt.

         
        • JeanGenie October 22, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

          101: Why don’t you write a letter to the editor?

           
          • small town blues October 22, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

            This is a small town, JeanGenie.
            A very small town.
            With lots of nastiness that goes along with any small town.
            It won’t be long before that nastiness matches Bridgeport.

             
        • Benett Kessler October 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

          This post is too long. Please keep them brief.
          Thanks,
          Benett

           
          • Ken Warner October 22, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

            Not only is it long but it is un-attributed plagiarism.

            At least he should have included this link:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_in_local_government#Types_of_Corruption_Found_in_Local_Government

             
          • I that you, East October 22, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

            It would be nice if certain controversial topics could be addressed in a a mere sentence or two. Especially in these divisive times.
            The reality of political corruption has become so widespread that most people think they can get the full picture by a couple of (mostly contradictory) posts. Or from people like Rush Limbaugh, or Fox News.
            Hence the crash-course tutorial on corruption .
            And oh, pleeeeeeeasssse Ken!
            Plagarism? I thought EVERYBODY has found the value of free info via Wikipedia. No money was made by the tutorial on Corruption, Ken. In fact, the good people at Wiki love to be read.
            Lighten up.
            I wonder if Warner is actually Wood or Eastman?

             
          • JeanGenie October 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

            Hey Small,
            What are you talking about? Are you saying my comment was nasty? I couldn’t read that post because it was too long, so I suggested 101 put it in the editorial section. Bishop can be a nasty little town, but there are plenty of good people also, Bridgeport seems ok to me, so whats your beef? Your comments range from strange to weird.

             
        • Big AL October 23, 2012 at 9:24 am #

          Good points .. I think people know more about what is right and what is wrong, than what meets the eye. The blind eye can not see what it refuses to see. And power sometimes is difficult to overcome. But giants can be chopped and toppled. Just have to uncover the blind eye.

           
      • SierraFan October 22, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

        I think your thinking is a bit short sided! She’s been dealing with business and challenges that seem to require another head so to speak. This isn’t every day business so the need is there! Not to mention, as I said earlier, this is a special talent for a specific problem. One of which wouldn’t have been done unless an accounting and/or a law firm or something like it would’ve been hired at a much higher cost. I can see that you’re looking through a simple thought process for something that is anything but simple!

        Trust me when I say this… we don’t need to over spend with what we don’t have but when it’s more of a do or die situation with deadlines (or looming deadlines) then you have to think outside of the box. Try looking at this as if it was your own business. What would you do? Please explain in detail so we can understand.

         
    • Dig deeper MMM October 22, 2012 at 8:12 am #

      As an outsider in this community, MMM put a halt to John Eastman’s personal ploy by disallowing Eastman to place his future son-in-law in a cushy position at the airport.
      Maybe she should be encouraged to dig deeper and deeper to uncover more of this type of corruption.

       
      • Dig deeper MMM October 22, 2012 at 9:35 am #

        On the other hand, maybe our Town Manager #2 has uncovered massive corruption in this town already. If so, this might explain why MMM gets a huge salary, free housing, free transportation from her home down South, perks, more perks …

         
        • How corruption manifests itself October 23, 2012 at 9:55 am #

          Show me a small town with only one money-generating business (skiing) – and I’ll show you a gazillion ways corruption manifests itself.
          Don’t think for a moment that our elected officials (attorneys, developers, real estate rental agents, etc.) readily use the statement “I recuse myself for the following conflict of interest reasons…”
          Our elected officials are not stupid. They can clearly see the citizens they claim to represent, allow them to get away with … EVERYTHING THEY WANT TO GET AWAY WITH.

           
  9. upthecreek October 21, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

    tax tax tax

    this is all they know..
    pensions for everyone

     
  10. Ken Warner October 21, 2012 at 11:36 pm #

    “we should be thanking her for saving our A..”

    Please describe exactly how she’s “…saving our A….”. Because I don’t see how the current mediated settlement is saving us from anything. At 2 million dollars a year plus the possibility of not being able to make those payments and the penalties that will incur plus the general deterioration of public services — this town will never recover in anybody’s lifetime. There are no brighter days ahead. We will never go back to how it was at the beginning of this decade. Even those who got us in this mess acknowledge that.

    We all would be better off dis-incorporating and selling the airport and really going bankrupt. We at least wouldn’t have to pay the taxes we levied on ourselves and we would be better protected from the big developers — assuming the current town power structure didn’t migrate to the county seat.

     
    • upthecreek October 22, 2012 at 9:45 am #

      @ Ken.
      It almost sounds like you agree with me that….
      The govt. Has gone wild

      Time to get rid of the Beast

      GGW

       
      • Ken Warner October 22, 2012 at 11:39 am #

        Well, there’s government and then there’s government. I do agree that the “Tax’em to save our butt’s” crowd has played that to it’s limit.

        It’s not all or nothing though. And I don’t feel personally offended that a person has thought ahead to his/her retirement and has made good choices.

         
    • SierraFan October 22, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

      Well Ken,

      For one, we’re not paying the $43 million so there’s a $14million dollar savings on the principle! Second, a BK would have cost us millions more just to hit the wall again and perhaps spend millions more on attorney’s. As far as selling assets, I’m not opposed to it nor would I suggest anything against it as long as it made sense in the long run. I do think this airport should be a privately run and owned if possible but then again, I’m not sure what makes more financial sense from this point on. As an optimist, I do believe our town will recover and be stronger once this is all said and done. Have confidence in your fellow citizens and not a “Debbie downer”!

       
      • Ken Warner October 23, 2012 at 9:04 am #

        20 years times 2 million dollars a year is 40 million. Without considering future penalties for payments missed or loss of public services. Your hypothetical scenarios not withstanding. That’s what you call “Saving our A..”?

        You must have a prescription for something good to feel positive about that.

        Now please describe the confidence in my fellow citizens that I’m lacking. What are They going to do? Vote for more taxes?

         
      • Big AL October 23, 2012 at 9:44 am #

        Yeah I hear ya on the airport issue, I don’t believe the airport should be run by the county or the town, or be be subsidized either, that is how I see it, others don’t and that is cool. On the other hand, private ownership while it is my choice, would eventually lead to being subsidized because the business owners and investors would get greedy and want to protect their profits by making someone else (you and I) to pay the difference in their operating expenses.

        Does this sound pretty much like what has happened to the town of Mammoth Lakes already.

        Selling assets should be approached with a lot of thought.

        It’s just too bad we couldn’t just simply tell MLLA they do not get what they are trying to steal, the extra money that was never theirs, but that is not so simple, or is it?

         
    • Nice deal, MMM October 23, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

      “Saving our A..”
      Don’t delude yourself.
      Humungous salary for part-time work, doesn’t even live in this community. Free rent when she’s in town. Travel expenses paid for. Sounds like a “nice work if you can get it” deal to me.
      I don’t think the President of the United States has it so good.
      Believe me. Somebody has something on someone.

       
  11. concerned October 22, 2012 at 1:21 am #

    As I stated. yes it is implying that wearing hair down is interpreted as being lax. This is to be expected considering it is not the town managers pay in which we are discussing when taking measures to reduce the budget defecit. So everyone, let your hair down and be noticed. This is just a garden party, where we discuss hairstyles and the latest fashion.

     
  12. concerned October 22, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    Thats what I was asking…

     
  13. Mark October 22, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    Rusty will never go for a lift ticket tax. Besides it’s not his problem. But as usual the town wants bailed out by the man in black.

     
    • Benett Kessler October 22, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

      At one point a few months back, Rusty did say he would consider backing a lift tax, depending on which way the Town went.
      BK

       
  14. the usual suspects October 22, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    There will always be the usual regulars from down south who have been coming here to recreate for years …
    because they always have.
    The others (who still have the $$$) are preferring to fly from L.A. to Salt Lake City to ski in the more upscale resorts like Deer Valley. Where all the movie stars like to hang and be seen.

     
  15. hair October 22, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    Please contain you hairstyle observations and comments to a minimum, Bennett.
    Somebody might start dissing YOUR hairstyle.
    Meeeeooooooowwwwww!
    (wink)

     
    • Big AL October 23, 2012 at 9:49 am #

      LOL @ Meeeooooww .. OK that made me laugh …. levity

       
  16. Greg Young October 23, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    (re-posted from another area, but applicable to this one as well)
    This issue of cutting the police department arose because they represent such a large part of the city budget and nothing to do with whether the department is too large. The issue at hand is the court ordered payment TOML has to pay. We are all affected whether we like it or not and at this point, after making previous cuts to all areas of the budget, the need now is to come up with the money to make the payments.

    So separate the budget issue of running Mammoth Lakes so it remains a viable and safe community from the requirement to pay the settlement. I usually vote no to any new taxes, but I suggest we need a tax or a bond that separates the money needed to pay the settlement from the money needed to run TOML. I understand a LAIFF account could be created and save perhaps half of the interest to be paid. But if we do this, we must also put restraints on the ability of TOML to go back to overspending. We should maintain the current budget with no changes for a minimum of 3 years or as much as 5, and perhaps require a two-thirds vote for new commitments over a low dollar amount (all to be negotiated and then voted upon). If TOML can maintain its viability it may have an opportunity to improve finances over the next few years if the economy improves. If the economy improves tourists dollars should go up and thus increased taxes will be made because if increased tourism.

    TOML should also consider other remedies to improve income such as industry that is not impactful to our environment. With the advent of the completion of Digital 395 next summer, software industries (as just one example) could be encouraged to locate their development teams in this pristine environment where they work their crazy hours and be able to enjoy our resources in their off hours.

    But adding taxes (TOT, ski tickets, sales), cutting Whitmore, cutting police, cutting other basic services will end up cutting our own throats. Do not allow yourselves to get caught up in this need to cut services when we need to face the commitment of paying the settlement with some other income generating solution.

    Here is a comment about outsourcing law enforcement. The Sheriff Department is the only possible entity to fulfill that outsource. There will be no cost savings except to still cut down on the number of personnel to be on the street. The difference between what a Sheriff makes and what a TOML police officer makes is not significant. The Sheriff can only charge the town what it actually costs to fulfill the contract and cannot profit from it. Since the town already has its own department, it is better off maintaining it. I was a Mono County Sheriff in 1984 & 85 and as president of the association at the time was intimately involved in negotiations between the new town and the county for law enforcement. The current manpower is what is needed to provide for a safe community and a safe work environment for the police officers. I assure you, you will not be served to replace full time officers with reservists or volunteers, though they should still be encouraged to supplement the current base line service. It takes 5+ months of academy training to get an individual the “basics” of law enforcement, then 1-3 years street experience to become a decent officer. You do not replace that overnight. The current department has considerable street experience and you are going to lose some of that as a result of the councils threats. Lets not lose all of it. Lets create a budget that all workers, including law enforcement, can count on going forward and lets keep this town viable and safe.

     
  17. concerned October 23, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    Forget the budget..Hows my hair…?

     
  18. Bert4 October 24, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

    The people in Mammoth Lakes can’t really afford any more taxes. Not with the state of the general economy in the U.S. and California. Please see the article from the Mammoth Times, written 6/8/2012 regarding the report by FTI Capital Advisors, titled “Impact of Potential Tax Increases on Mammoth Lakes Economy.” Since that report and the article were written, prices for everything, including fuel, have risen even higher.

    While there may be some who advocate for higher taxes so the Town can meet its obligations, as stated before, there are a larger number of residents who simply cannot afford it. Further, I doubt that once the obligation is paid, the taxes will be reduced. I’d be more than happy to be found wrong on that one.

    As for a tax on lift tickets, Mammoth already has one of the highest lift ticket prices of any of the major ski resorts. To a certain extent, it does have a captive audience – those who want a relatively short drive from LA or points further south. However, there is a point at which there will be a diminishing return.

    In the end, we’ll have to grind it out. Maybe no more new signs or trails as a start. The Town does need to eliminate some managerial positions, notwithstanding Mayor Lehman’s feelings to the opposite. For example, two town managers is redundant. Our current police chief’s salary is out of line for similar towns. I would also advocate for not re-electing anyone who’s served any time at all on this current council or previous councils that had anything to do with this mess.

    The idea of an extra dollar on mixed drinks is appealing. Personally, I favor re-routing money from Measures R and/or U (or any other “special funds”) to fund the payments. We’re already paying it, simply divert it, as the Town considered doing in its bankruptcy proceedings.

     

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