Some officials complain about budget shortfall

mltc5_1Citizens and members of the Town Council expressed frustration at the fact that next fiscal year’s budget is some $562,000 short. Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez said the shortfall is not an emergency and that Town Staff needs credit for what they have done in the past couple of years.

Martinez had sent out the word about the shortfall about a week before the Town Council meeting. She explained that sales tax and franchise fees were lower than projected, Whitmore Pool was not funded, Airport revenues were lower and airport expenses were higher.

3m5_1The Manager called all options to balance the budget “bad.” She said this is a structural problem and maybe next year will be better. Martinez also pointed out that the Town Council approved a five-year budget plan last year with the use of revenue projections. Some of those did not pan out.

Martinez suggested ways to balance the budget but left it up to the Town Council. She said the Council could delay hiring a Community and Economic Development Director, a budget management analyst, a TOT specialist and a new police officer. She also suggested shifting expenses for fishing enhancement, Fourth of July fireworks and Chamber of Commerce to Mammoth Lakes Tourism.

Director of that group, John Urdi, was clearly miffed by the suggestion. He stood up and said, “This frustrates me. Why is this coming down to an emergency. This should have been known earlier. This is a fire drill that could have been avoided.”

Manager Martinez said it’s not an emergency and the $1 million surplus in this fiscal year was a one-time surplus not to be applied to next fiscal year. Officials said it’s hard to predict sales tax when figures come out three months after the fact.

Councilman Michael Raimondo said he wants to be ready for development and not delay the Economic Development Director and the TOT specialist. Council member Jo Bacon also said she wants to find other things to cut. Councilman John Eastman said, “I am in the frustrated and confused category. Five months ago we had a five-year plan and a $1 million surplus. Now we have a shortfall.”

Eastman, known not to be a fan of the Town Manager, said, “I’m tired of the continued misjudgment of the budget – the cut, cut, cut and instability it’s creating in our organization.” He suggested no program cuts and instead reduction of road repairs and use of reserves.

Mayor Matthew Lehman said he shares the frustration. He blamed the lack of computer equipment that causes the inability to generate monthly revenue and expense reports. He also suggested that it might be time to bring Whitmore pool closer to town with a new facility. Lehman said he may want to look at the whole budget.

After the Council criticism, Manager Martinez said, “It’s time for us to say, ‘Give us credit on the progress we’ve made.’ Three years ago, you thought you had $14 million in the bank and you had only $1 million. There was a $2.7 million shortfall and now it is $562,000. Please give us credit for what we have done,” she said.

Mayor Lehman said there is a great level of appreciation. More budget hearings will take place May 15th, June 5th with a final decision planned for June 19th.


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14 Responses to Some officials complain about budget shortfall

  1. Razzle-Dazzle 'em MMM! May 3, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    She came from the bustling metropolis of Oakland equipped with her PowerPoint presentation software (that anyone can learn to use) and commenced to razzle-dazzle the confused Councilmen with graphs, numbers, more graphs, more numbers, to the point that when after her number-crunching bit is over, when she asks: “Are there any questions?” the dumbfounded elected officials become suddenly mute. Then it was “Wilbrecht must go, retain me, and all will be hunky-dory”. She gets a home, a car, a huge salary … and doesn’t even live here! Then all of a sudden, it was, “I think we need an economic development specialist” (isn’t THIS was she is touting herself to be?)
    Don’t kid yourself. This woman is good. As good as any corporate number-cruncher and double-talker I’ve ever seen in my 30 years of corporate experience.

    • Bemused May 4, 2013 at 9:20 am #

      You are no doubt right R.D. How transparently pathetic…

    • Nice work if you can get it May 5, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

      And, if you haven’t figured this out already, Lehman, Raimondo, and Mr. Potter himself (Gregory) absolutely worship MMM.
      Don’t ask her staff what they think of her … but who cares about the staff, right?
      They’re already making too much money as far as the constituents are concerned … right?
      Absolutely pathetic.

  2. NewDay May 3, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    MMM is right. The council was trying to shoot the messenger. Seems they should look in a mirror to figure out the morale issue might be…it starts at the top, Mr. Eastman!

    • SIerraFan May 3, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

      Well said NewDay!!! She just organized the mess given, asked for certain cuts to help balance what is being brought in. She didn’t bring a money tree with her. The town rep’s got us into this mess and now we have to live with in our means. Eastman needs to go!!

  3. Curious May 3, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    The same people who claimed to have had their best year ever, have now reported lower sales taxes?

    Do they really expect the public to support the BED? Vote these charlatans OUT!

  4. Who's Running?? May 3, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

    So then we’ll vote you IN?? I’ll expect to see Curious on the ballot. I wouldn’t sign up for this mess!

    • Who cares who runs? May 4, 2013 at 11:46 am #

      Who’s running?

      I don’t think anybody really cares. It could be Tweedle-Dee and Tweedly-Dum.
      Two of them ran unopposed last time (Bacon & Raimondo).
      And now they have all the power and not a bad part-time salary to boot.
      (Not to mention what goes on behind closed doors)
      Anybody can be bought off for the right price – we’ll never know.

      • SierraFan May 6, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

        I hope we can’t buy anyone for the right price! Run and find out “Who cares who runs”.

        • A corrupt system May 7, 2013 at 5:22 am #

          Until it is 100% illegal for an elected official to accept one thin dime from any source (or silent partnernership, etc….) the system you have in place will always be a corrupt one. And what are the only credentials, experience, degrees, brains etc. does an elected official need? That they got the most votes.
          A revolving-door policy may be the only way to keep corruption down to a minimum. One-term – you’re out. Or a lottery system where everyone and anyone must be a part of. If you’re name is chosen – you serve and term.

  5. PLEASE STOP SAYING MOVING FORWARD May 7, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    Seem evertime the words, moving forward come out of our government And comissioners mouths, the latter steps keep breaking and falling down. Eventually the town will end up with 2 stilts and nothing to hold it up from falling in the deepest hole they continue to dig.

    • One-horse town May 8, 2013 at 5:28 am #

      The problem with any one-horse town is the owner of the horse ends up owning everything … including the stableboys (councilmen).
      Save the town some money, get rid of the stableboys, and let Gregory self-annoint himself as King of Mammoth and be done with it. Sooner or later the town staff will either leave for greener pastures leaving the real work for those willing to work for hay.

      Side note:
      Nice porsche you’ve got there MMM!

  6. Curious May 8, 2013 at 6:37 am #

    They only thing moving forward is the removal of any council person that votes for this BED.

    Mayor SierraFan and council man Sierra Fan are setting up Dead Wood and Leastman to take the fall when all is said and done. We just need run three electable candidates and these two old men and a lad will finally be put to pasture.

    Lehman has his sights on a Mono County Supervisors seat, while Raimando and Bacon will remain on council to take on the cause of naming a street or a deli sandwich after Steve Searles .

    As the wheels of fortunes continue to turn in Mammoth,Rusty counts the ill gotten funds to secure the airport subsidizes. Thanks to less than ethical politicians,the airport has been bought, funded and airlines subsidize will be paid courteously of our tax dollars all in the name of town leaders greed! The true cost to the taxpayers per enplanement that flies into Mammoth would make an incarcerated city councilmen from the city of Bell blush. Ever wonder why we’ve never seen those number or any of these folks behind bars yet?

  7. You can't always get what you want May 8, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    Yesterday, MMM and biggest fan Matt Lehman trekked over to the county seat to put the bite on the county supes for their assistance with Mammoth’s train wreck of an IT department. Expecting to blow into Bridgeport (without any customary razzle-dazzle PowerPoint presentation), snap her fingers, turn on that cute little accent and forceful demeanor and get exactly what she wanted, she was noticeably miffed after finding out that although Mono County would help the town with their IT problem, the town must assist with the county’s waste disposal.

    Welcome to the real world MMM.

    Also interesting was an ideological exchange between Fesko and Johnston where Fesko (doing his best TeaParty member impression) suggested Johnston was advocating socialism because of Johnston’s desire to tax the wealthy of Mammoth.
    (Johnston BTW, wants everybody’s salary in the county to be the same)
    Hold on to your hats, boys and girls. When ideology takes over the forefront – you can bet nothing of substance is going to happen


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