The economy, local business and the Mayor’s travel expenses – The Mammoth Town Council heard about these and related issues at their most recent meeting.
First, Mammoth Lakes Chamber of Commerce President Jack Copeland pointed out that the slow season will hit town soon. He said the six weeks between Easter and June are an opportunity to make progress. Copeland said, “We will have to work hard to get people here and beef up the focus on service.” He said everything in town will be on sale – lift tickets, lodging, ski equipment and clothing.
Copeland pointed to the need for better customer service and said visitors usually get “a formal or no welcome.” He said the town has to “bump it up a notch.” Copeland said the Chamber will hold workshops for business owners with the message that they need to “Treat everyone like a local.”
Speaking of locals, Tim Flynn of the Mammoth Lakes Contractors Association expressed his disappointment that the Town Council dropped the 50% cut of building permits for single family homes. Flynn said he hoped they would re-submit this issue for a new vote and consider it an economic stimulus.
Flynn said the Town just lost three high-salaried people whose pay adds up to about a half million. He said, “Don’t tell us you’re going to hire another manager.” Flynn said if the Town keeps fees down it will entice people to develop homes.
Mayor Matthew Lehman assured Flynn that the Town is running at “zero profit with no reserves municipality.” He disagreed with Flynn’s view that government is hiring people to do nothing. Said the Mayor, “They’re pushed pretty hard.”
Speaking of Mayor Lehman. He put an item on the agenda to be reimbursed $199 for his travel expense to go to the San Diego Marathon and participate. This is a sister event with a later marathon in Mammoth Lakes. Lehman contended he was raising awareness of the Town.
The Council tried to see if Mammoth Lakes Tourism could pay Lehman, but Town Attorney Andy Morris said there are restrictions on a third party paying. He said it would be considered a “gift to the Town.”
In the end, the Council approved reimbursement to Lehman. The vote was 4 to nothing.