Marianna Marysheva-Martinez, hired in early March as Mammoth’s Interim Town Manager, initially planned to move on at the end of June. Martinez has confirmed that, as allowed by her contract, she will stay on in a month-to-month arrangement to assist the Town as needed.
Martinez did confirm that one of those tasks will involve negotiations with Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition, the holders of the massive $41 million debt over the airport lawsuit. Martinez has spent a great deal of time on the Town’s finances – documentation of money in the budget and plans on how to balance a $2.7 million shortfall. Now, she will turn her focus to MLLA and how to negotiate debt payment.
With a masters degree in public policy and experience as the City of Oakland Budget Director and Assistant City Administrator during severe budget crises, Martinez has the chops to manage tough times. Mammoth residents continue to ask about funds in the Town budget and if the money could be used for other purposes.
One of those funds was the recently discussed $8 million vehicle replacement fund. Martinez called it a very typical practice for cities to set aside funds for vehicle replacement. For Mammoth that means snow removal equipment and police cars. The money comes from gas tax revenue and is restricted in how it can be spent. The amount of $8 million, Martinez said, is based on a very detailed replacement schedule. Also, reducing this fund, she said, is risky since the Town will not be in better financial condition later.
Cyndi Myrold, Town Finance Manager, put costs in perspective with information that snow blowers cost $240,000; snow loaders, $350,000; plus buckets and plows for the loaders cost around $20,000 each.
Other set aside funds that are tied to specific expenses include an employee leave fund of $1.8 million, which is 85% funded and an employee health benefits fund of $162,000. These two funds are required by union contracts.
As for the process with MLLA, Marysheva-Martinez said there are no scheduled meetings. “It’s on an ad hoc basis,” she said. “It is somewhat driven by MLLA. We provide information to them as we can.” Martinez did say that two partners from MLLA came to Mammoth June 13th and 14th. She said when the next packet of information has been reviewed, they will likely meet again. Martinez said it is unknown when substantive negotiations will start.