When the Mammoth Town Council meets Wednesday, They will spend some more time on next fiscal year’s budget with talk on the Budget Reduction Plan presented last week.
On an earlier issued proposed schedule of public meetings, the Town said the May 16th Council meeting would offer an update from the staff on pre-bankruptcy mediations and on the MLLA settlement process and State Court writ with continued discussion on spending priorities and balancing measures in response to the $43 million debt that comes due June 30th.
Officials have continually promised to talk about details of the ominous debt owed to MLLA, but have actually said very little publicly. Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht did say that if Mammoth gets to the end of mediation without a settlement with MLLA and the court writ becomes due, “There’s no way” he said, “that the Town can pay it.” Wilbrecht went on to say that then the Town would be in a fiscal emergency which could lead to bankruptcy. Then, he said, the Town Council would have to make decisions.
Meanwhile, officials mediated with Town creditors last week, not including MLLA. Wilbrecht said that his overall impression was that the mediation sessions were “very good.” He said the mediator, David Coar, a retired federal judge from Chicago, handled the sessions well. They re scheduled for more talks May 29th.
Citizens now worry over what municipal bankruptcy will mean to their lives. When asked that question, Mayor Jo Bacon said the public can look at the Town website and Frequently Asked Questions about MLLA. That document does not address long range and potentially personal impacts on the population in Mammoth. Bacon said she understands people’s fears, and said only that the experts are working on these answers. Bacon said things change from day to day. She said members of the public can come to the Council meetings and ask any question about the potential bankruptcy.
Wednesday night’s meeting starts with a closed session on litigation at 4pm, a workshop on Measure U at 5pm with the regular meeting starting at 6pm. The item on the budget and presumably the huge debt is fifth under policy matters which is the last item on the agenda.