Mammoth Chamber Squares Off With Town Council

The Mammoth Chamber of Commerce and the Town Council met last night for an airing of grievances and money talks.

Tensions between the Town and the Chamber recently bubbled up when Chamber members considered issuing a report card on Town government. Monday night Chamber members squared off with the Council, asking questions on topics like code enforcement and whether or not the Town should continue to ban people from renting their homes on a nightly basis.

Chamber President Dawn Verouk pointed out that people see the Town hiring new staff without any visible results.

A rough snow year prompted edgy questions about what the Town has done to help the economic slowdown.

While business may be slow, Councilmember John Eastman explained that Town government is the busiest it has ever been. Council member Kirk Stapp spoke of the many projects being built in Town with Town support right now, like the fire station, the ice rink, the Lake Mary Road project, as well as the continuing efforts to bring in commercial air service.

As for other immediate steps to boost the economy in the short term, Stapp said that the Council is pushing Mono county to make a "stellar" fishing season this year.

Stapp explained that over the years he has seen the Chamber go through cycles of high activity and political involvement only to burn out Chamber members and implode. He said he was jaded toward the Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber Member Deb Pierrel explained that the Chamber had made changes in the past five years leading to lower turnover.

After two hours of discussions on the state of the Town, Kirk Stapp brought the meeting around to what he saw as the real issue on the table – money.

Town Manager Rob Clark explained that both the Town and the business community could benefit from a more active Chamber of Commerce. The contract on the table pays the Chamber $15,000 this year to do a few specific items like the creation of brochures to entice people and businesses to relocate to Mammoth.

The idea behind the contract, according to Rob Clark, is for the Chamber to take on small projects and if they are successful the Town would consider more money in the future.

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