To try to boost the local economy, Council members John Eastman and Neil McCarroll brought forward to the Jan. 21 Council meeting a request to reduce building permit plan check fees and development impact fees on single family homes and single family home remodels/additions by 50%. Three members of the Council were too worried to say yes.
Eastman and McCarroll had learned that someone from out of town wanted to build a home on Ranch Road but had been offended by the $15,000 in fees that he believed should only be about $5,000. In a time when very little to no building is occurring in the Town of Mammoth Lakes, Eastman and McCarroll were grasping at any way to jumpstart the economy.
Councilwoman Jo Bacon was concerned, however, that lowering the fees for one industry (construction) would result in other industries throughout town coming forward to request a reduction in fees. Mayor Wendy Sugimura agreed with Bacon.
I am concerned with the piecemeal approach, Sugimura said. This wont stimulate more building overall, and I think if we are going to do something we need to stimulate all segments of the economy. Everyone is losing jobs.
McCarroll, however, pointed out that construction is something you can reach out and touch. He moved to reduce the fees through Dec. 31, 2009 after contractors in the audience pointed out that the four-months of fee reductions in the agenda bill would not be enough time to make anything happen.
The sudden extension of the timeframe on the fee reductions concerned Councilmember Skip Harvey. He wanted the numbers to be reworked for the longer timeframe before he made a decision. Therefore, McCarroll withdrew his motion and the item was carried over to the Feb. 4 meeting.