Letter to the editor: spirit of tax measures

mammothabovetownSpeaking Out… 22 January, 2014

Most Town voters are unaware of the proposal to use Measure U and Measure R funds to fund a new recreation organization known as MLR (“Mammoth Lakes Recreation”).  At the MLR Steering Committee’s 1/6/14 meeting, SMG consultants presented a draft report proposing to use up to 25% of those dedicated tax funds for “overhead” for the new organization.   The report offered vague “strategies” for MLR to adopt Measures U, R, Trails, Special Events and other responsibilities currently managed by our current Recreation Department.  Mayor Wood’s visual diagram of responsibilities, which may be included in the final draft, provided the most detail as to what MLR would do.

The most specific detail in the report, however, was the intended use of Measure R and U tax funds to provide organizational support.  The MLR Steering Committee will discuss the final report at its meeting next week, Monday, 1/27/14, and the Recreation Commission will discuss it on 2/4/14.

Since passage of the measures, administrative costs have been limited to 4% to manage the accounts.   At the previous meeting, Town Attorney written advice was given to the steering committee, stating:  “Although administrative costs are legitimate expenditures under both R and U, my understanding of the intent of both measures has always been that they were meant to fund tangible facilities and programs.  If a significant portion of every R and U dollar given to MLR ends up being spent on administration, I think the public might be justified in feeling as though the Town wasn’t following the spirit of R and U, and maybe not the letter of R and U”.

I concur with his advice, as I and many others voted to tax ourselves to construct and operate tangible, physical facilities and programs, including Arts and Culture, not to provide an organization’s overhead.  However, if a reputable (and self-supporting) non-profit were to step forward and have as its fundraising mission to complement and match Measure U and R funds dedicated to construct tangible recreation facilities and programs, I am sure that there are many like me who would support that approach.

/s/ Sandy Hogan, 19 year resident

 

 

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2 Responses to Letter to the editor: spirit of tax measures

  1. Ken Warner January 23, 2014 at 10:04 am #

    Prop. R and Meas. U have been around for years. Can you show me what they’ve been used for — other than Shady Rest Park which was the original intended use for Meas. U funds– can you show me what those funds have been used for that have made the town a better place to live?

    Both taxes would be a good strategy for a community to improve itself if the community had sensible leadership. We don’t have sensible leadership. That lack has been demonstrated over and over.

    I think it’s time to repeal both taxes and take away the temptation to find ways to spend those moneys foolishly just to say we spent it.

    Do we really need another friggin committee?

     
  2. Desert Tortoise January 23, 2014 at 11:57 am #

    It would be very useful and not the least bit self serving at all if the Steering Committee published a list of what was bought using those funds and what years the purchase was made. An accounting of tax revenues and expenditures by year is also not just wise but necessary. I do the latter for a committee I am a member of. It is a lot of work but it dispels the rumors while educating the public about where their tax revenues come from and often the laws that govern their expenditure. People need visibility into what their special taxes buy them.

     

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