It was over fast, like ripping off a Band-Aid to make it hurt less, but what was said was no less clear just because it was dealt with quickly.
The Town of Mammoth Lakes continues with its budget problems and began last night to deal with the realities of a $500,000 deficit.
Finance Director Brad Koehn tried to lighten the load by explaining that the General Fund was experiencing a surplus, but that couldn’t get him around the fact that the Towns budget, due to a shortfall in Community Development Revenue was just a little over $383,000 rather than the $783,000 that was expected in October.
The difference from last year to this year is the type of permits that are being pulled through the Community Development Department. While the number of permits pulled so far in 2008 is only down by 71 (289 pulled in 2007 versus 218 in 2008), the valuations of the permits being pulled this year are much lower than permits pulled in 2007.
After Koehns report there was not much discussion from Council. They agreed to receive Koehns report and then directed staff to come back to their next meeting with some options on how to deal with the deficit.
The public could tell it was serious, however, when the Council passed on making decisions on the next two agenda items. The first was to fill two Parks Maintenance positions. Tourism and Recreation Director Danna Stroud explained that while she knew our timing could not have been worse, she felt it important to let Council know that if they could not fill at least one of the two positions, then they should not expect the same level of services that Parks Maintenance has been giving for the last two years because they would be working with a staff of three rather than their usual staff of five. Council directed Stroud to come back Dec. 3.
Council then postponed the next agenda item until June 2009 and the next fiscal years budget. The item was a decision whether or not to increase pay rates for part-time employees by 4.5 percent.