Mammoth Lakes Town Manager Rob Clark has written an open letter to local news sources defending the state of the town budget.
With three Town Council seats up for election in June, budget concerns have become political red meat. A group of citizens concerned about town spending, recently organized to advise town council candidates. Council candidate Tony Barrett has taken these concerns further and called for the resignation of Town Manager Rob Clark.
While Barretts call for Clarks resignation lacks specifics, Clarks response to criticism is more detailed.
For perspective, Clark says while cities like Reno and Los Angeles are on the brink of bankruptcy for failing to adjust to the recession-caused new reality, Mammoth Lakes has a balanced budget.
Clark says that the town staff has been reduced by 18%, not counting the furloughs, and says that all town employees from the Town Manager on down, have agreed to a 15.7% pay cut to help balance the budget. He also says as of January, revenue is running $250,000 over the councils conservative revenue estimates, expenses are below budget and the Town has $8 million in the bank.
Which town projects should have been funded remains a debate as projects like a new police station, roof for the ice rink, the extension of Airport Road, and other street projects are on hold, but Clark says that one of the first actions taken by the Town Council in winter 2008 when the slow down in building became apparent was to determine which capital projects should be continued and which should be delayed.
Rather than cancel projects like the Lake Mary Bike Path, and send the grant money back, Clark says that the town worked to keep $42 million dollars in public projects moving, using $34 million in grants.
In short, Clark says that the Town Council of the Town of Mammoth Lakes has made the difficult decisions necessary to keep our government solvent, maintained public safety, and provided funding to keep capital projects and construction jobs working for our community.