Sales Tax Talks Continue in Mammoth

With important town projects like the new police station
on hold because of a lack of developer fees in Mammoth, it might not be the
best time to put a sales tax measure on the ballot. Nevertheless, the Mammoth
Tourism and Recreation Commission has recommended that the Town Council move
ahead with plans to put a .5% sales tax raise on the June Ballot to raise money
for trails and recreation.

At the Council meeting Wednesday, Tourism and Recreation
Director Danna Stroud told the officials that the Commission unanimously voted to
move ahead with a sales tax measure in June. With Council approval needed to
move ahead, she said that she realized that the timing could not have been
worse, but a tremendous amount of work went into bringing the measure forward.

There had been discussions of extending the utility users
tax to pay for parks, but the Tourism and Recreation Department did not
recommend trying that.

Council member John Eastman said he believes now is not the time to
pass any tax measure. He said that with the price of rents, gas and
utilities high plus a bad snow year last season, today is not the appropriate
climate to ask for taxes even for worthy causes.

John Wentworth, who helped found Mammoth Lakes Trails and
Public Access, argued vigorously to at least allow people to have the chance to
vote on the tax measure. He explained that trails are an economic benefit that need investment. Rather then have the plan shut down by
the Town Council, Wentworth asked the Council to let the case be made to the
public.

Over the weekend, the MLTPA gathered people together to
work on the creation of an overarching trails plan in Mammoth. in theory the tax
could help pay to put the plan into action. Council Member Wendy Sugimura said
that she didnt want the master plans to sit on the shelves.

No decisions were made at the Council meeting Wednesday.
The topic came up three hours into the meeting and many supporters had already
gone home. Wentworth asked that the subject be put earlier in the agenda next
time.

The potential
sales tax raise is expected to be on the agenda again at the next Mammoth Town
Council meeting

 
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