By Deb Murphy
The Eastern Sierra Council of Governments was well on its way to becoming capable of managing its own grants by becoming a Joint Powers Authority when it hit a snag.
Bishop Councilmember Stephen Muchovej was reluctant to give ESCOG the power to take regional positions or policies without agreement from all four entities: Bishop, Mammoth Lakes and Inyo and Mono Counties.
His concern: Bishop is the smallest of the four entities with the smallest budget. He didn’t want the city to be in a position of funding projects beyond its means.
So, ESCOG held a special meeting last week to wordsmith the JPA, conferring by phone with the entities’ attorneys all of whom were at a conference out of the area.
According to Dan Holler, Mammoth Lakes town manager, the attorneys had worked through all the changes. He also requested that each of the four entities vote the revised JPA up or down. “If we have changes,” he said, “we can either make the changes or just put this aside.”
The logic behind forming an official Authority is simple. The ESCOG recently received grant funding for project development from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. Those funds are being administered by the Town of Mammoth Lakes. Town representative John Wentworth suggested elevating the official status of the COG to be able to administer its own grants.
After a lot of back and forth with the off-site attorneys, the JPA was amended, requiring the vote of one representatives from each of the four entities to pass a motion, assuming there was a majority approval.