Mammoth Lakes Police Chief Dan Watson 

Last week, Assistant Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez finally revealed how Town officials plan to come up with $2 million per year to pay off the big lawsuit debt. Two closely held services topped the proposed list of cuts – 7 police officers and the Whitmore Pool and Park, along with six other town positions.

The Town Council plans to invite the public in to comment on these plans and offer suggestions at their regular meeting Wednesday night. The last item on the somewhat brief agenda says, “discuss the settlement agreement and proposed options for the financing of the settlement.”

When contacted by Sierra Wave Media for his view of the proposed plan to finance the debt, Mammoth Police Chief Dan Watson said, “I’m still analyzing the Council’s restructuring plan that was released last Thursday. My staff and I are trying to determine the impacts of a 46% reduction in sworn strength and a 67% reduction in supervision.”

The Chief said if this plan goes into effect the losses will include the School Resource Officer, MONET task force, and five patrol personnel. Chief Watson said this will mean times during the week when there will be only one police officer on duty. The Chief said, “Being in a remote location without other law enforcement services nearby, I’m concerned about what this will mean for the safety of our residents, visitors, and officers.”

Chief Watson added in his response that “The Town Council has the very difficult challenge of determining how to pay the settlement. The plan that was presented,” he said, “is the beginning of a process and the Council is seeking public input. The plan provides a starting point for discussion and there will likely be changes.” The Chief said he encourages all residents to become familiar with the plan and then offer their opinions on priorities by speaking at future meetings or by forwarding their thoughts via email to Town Clerk Jamie Gray. That email is [email protected].

The Town’s plan includes no cuts for housing, tourism, and transit.

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