With major money problems over the years, state government has created a nearly incomprehensible path of fund swapping. It's this web of paying back and forth that ended up in another million dollar shortfall for Mammoth Lakes.
Here's how it goes – Way back when, the State kept cities' sales tax and vehicle license fee money and pressed counties to compensate cities through the Education Revenue Augmentation Fund or ERAF. Counites, cities and special districts contribute money to the education fund.
But, this year, with Mono County schools qualifying as Basic Aid schools that live on local property tax dollars alone, no local agency contributed to the education fund.
This move left the fund short when it came to paying the Town of Mammoth for lost sales tax and vehicle license fees. Got all that? It's a round the door mess for Mono. The State says it will take legislative action to clear it up since all these payments are made by formula.
Mono County makes out okay this year because the refund from the education fund makes up for vehicle license fees and sales tax not returned by the State. Bottom line – Mammoth loses a million and the State falls deeper into a financial mess.