With some reluctance, members of the Mammoth Town Council gave a tentative nod to the elimination of DIF, Developer Impact Fees, for a year on smaller projects with the hope that this move would
jump start construction in Town. This item will come up for approval at a special meeting of the Council on Wednesday.
If the Council does throw out these fees for a year, it could potentially cost the General Fund $92,000. Councilman Rick Wood expressed concern about a cut in revenue as the Town talks with Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition about payment of the $41 million debt. Local contractors stood up to say elimination of DIF would definitely encourage people o build. Long-time, outspoken local, Gordon Alper, said DIF was a bad idea in the first place and should be revoked.
Local designer Craig Tapley told the Council about a triplex project in limbo with building permit fees of $14,000 and Developer Impact Fees of $39,000. “It won’t happen with DIF,” said Tapley. Councilman Rick Wood, who sat on the Council in 2005 when DIF was voted in, had not taken part in the vote because he had a project going at the time. He said, “The Town had a pretty greedy hand.” Wood called the fee a “bad, irresponsible bet.” Howevr, Wood said he’s concerned about the bigger picture – the $41 million debt and, as he calculates it, the $7,000 in interest adding up daily.
Councilman Matthew Lehman said he was not focusing on the big debt. He called for leadership for the economy and relief for smaller projects. Wood argued that the Town lives on Transient Occupancy Tax not construction. Mayor Jo Bacon said she agreed with Wood and was “not ready to subsidize a section of our economy.”
After a couple of hours of talk, the Council voted 3 to 1 with John Eastman the no vote, to draft a resolution for a vote this Wednesday. The resolution would defer DIF for one year for smaller projects including single family homes, maintain Affordable Housing, Building ad Planning fees, and include pending projects.