Letter to the Editor: Check out Tahoe for clues

warrenharrellDear mammoth lakes residents and council,

When the community leaders in 1984 chose t to incorporate the town, they unfortunately gave away too much property tax revenue in lieu of keeping all the TOT. Some of those leaders are still on council today. Unfortunately they gave away the farm, the farm being the property tax and chose to keep the crop instead, TOT, a  crop that can vary greatly from year to year.

Since that day the town has struggled to survive. The big years they could stuff their reserves and increase staff. But in the lean years the staff remained the same. They need more revenues. So they raised the TOT on our guest sand they raised taxes on the residents by measures such as, A, R, U, C, and M. All those measures could have been funded by property taxes.
So the first thing that we need to address is how do we get more of or property taxes back for the community. Has this been address by staff?

I suggest disincorporation and starting over, cleaning the slate. The opportunity is now to resolve the bigger finical issue that looms above us.

Here is a scenario for budget reduction; this scenario comes directly from the City of South Lake Tahoe, city staff used them as a comparison for the budget.

In brief this is what South LT staff proposed and council adopted.
The City Council adopted the following Strategic Priorities:
. /   Fiscal Sustainability
. /   Economic Development
. /   Improving the Built Environment
. /   Building Public Trust and Accountability
. /   Partnership Development
•      Right-sized the government structure through the elimination of department director positions.
Eliminate, Assistant  City  Manager, Community Development  Director,  Redevelopment  &  Housing  Director,  Parks  & Recreation  Assistant  Director),  a  Police  Captain,  Division  Fire  Chief, Recreation  Supervisor  and  (8)  line  staff  for  an  annual  savings  of   $1.8 million. 57% came from management positions.
•      The  Council  also  proposed  the  balance  of  the  projected  annual  deficit be  offset  by negotiating  with  employee  collective  bargaining units  committed  to  pay  their full  share  of  CaIPERS.

This proposed budget will enable the City Council to deliver on the public’s priorities. The proposed employee layoffs and cutbacks are difficult, but necessary if the City is to eliminate this shortfall and future year deficits. The  public  requires  us  to  realign  our  resources  to  focus  on  our  strategic priorities, and to recalibrate our government to live within our means.

I hope all citizens as well as the council read this document and compare to what the staff has proposed
Thank you very much,

Warren Harrell


2 Responses to Letter to the Editor: Check out Tahoe for clues

  1. ForMammoth May 11, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    Warren Harrell has no idea what he’s talking about. Disincorporation would do nothing to eliminate the MLLA debt, and reduce services in the Town to a level that most local residents and guests wouldn’t want to live with. In comparing Mammoth to South Lake Tahoe, Mr. Harrell conveniently omits mention of the Town’s staff reductions over the past 3 years, from over 130 employees to less than 80, which included the layoff of four department heads (Recreation, Finance, HR and Assistant TM). I don’t disagree that the Town needs to get its financial affairs in order, but relentlessly hacking staff is not the answer.

    He also suggests the Town should be collecting more property tax instead of increasing TOT…but in case he hadn’t noticed, property tax revenues are in the toilet too. At least the Town stands a snowball’s chance in hell of stabilizing and increasing TOT through marketing, revenue collection, and attracting visitors to a year-round (not just a snow-dependent) resort.

    • Ken Warner May 11, 2012 at 10:11 am #

      I think that Harrell’s idea is a good idea to discuss and possibly pursue. The only function of the town has been to enrich the big developers and act as a functionary arm of the Chamber of Commerce.

      It’s time for the people who live here to take our community back and make it a nice place to live once again — like it was before incorporation. We the people have no responsibility to enrich the local business owners. The assumption has been that We the People do have the responsibility to enrich local businesses. That assumption should be thoroughly questioned Harrell’s dis-incorporation idea is a good place to start.


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