Business and government officials talk BID

Mayor Lehman says MMSA has to sign an air service contract Friday. The Town, he indicated has to commit to its part of the subsidy.

For a few weeks, a group of Mammoth business owners and officials have met in an exploratory committee to consider formation of a Business Improvement District and the possible imposition of a 1% assessment on gross revenues of lodging, restaurant and retail businesses.  John Urdi, Mammoth Lakes Tourism Director, said that preliminary discussions indicate that a 1% assessment could raise $1.5 million for marketing and air service subsidy for the community.

Mammoth Mountain CEO Rusty Gregory had pointed to a Business Improvement District as what he called “a better way to go” than a ski lift ticket tax.  Director Urdi said he put together an exploratory committee of up to 18 people to look at the options.  Urdi said the idea is to include businesses that directly involve tourists since the money would go to marketing for visitors and for air service.  He said lodging and restaurants are directly connected.  Some retail businesses are not.

Urdi said the BID would mean a “consistent and sustainable air service subsidy” so that the Town would not have to face finding the funds every year.  Urdi believes in the countywide value of air service.  He points to what he says is a $5.3 million spending impact from air service in spring, summer and fall.  $4.6 million of that is directly in Mammoth Lakes, he said.

So, what do local leaders think of the assessment district idea?  Urdi said, “They seem positive about where we’re going.”  He said the district would mean no risk of cuts to marketing. Other sources have said that the Business Improvement District idea is not ready for prime time and still has a lot of questions to answer.  The Tourism Director remains confident.  He points to the return on marketing investment and says for every dollar spent, $136 are brought back to the town and $4 in tax revenue goes to Town government.

Urdi said the money raised in a BID would be supplemental to the money the Town already dedicates to marketing through Tax Measure A.  He added if Mammoth Mountain participated beyond their lodging, restaurant and retail stores, that could add more dollars and possibly make Measure A money available for something else. In his public discussion of a lift ticket tax, CEO Rusty Gregory has not exactly said no, but he has not said yes either.

Urdi said the exploratory committee has met three times and will meet again this Thursday. He explained that if Mammoth businesses do want to create this assessment district, they would need to present a petition to the Town Council and 50% plus of lodging, restaurant and retail stores would have to approve of the idea.  Urdi said he would hope for 85% to 90% approval. He explained that this is not a public vote but an internal vote of each business group.  He said there are still a lot of questions and the need for education on the idea.  Urdi said, “There will be more clarity in a couple of weeks.”

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19 Responses to Business and government officials talk BID

  1. Sam Smith November 15, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    MLT = Taxation with out representation.


    Time for tea party in Mammoth.

  2. HAD A CHANCE AND BLEW IT. November 15, 2012 at 9:43 am #

    The citizens in Mammoth had a chance to do away with Eastman at the last election. He bought votes by jumping on the Steve Searles drama and taking credit for getting Steve his job back with the town. He also has a black cross across from Vons since the town got Inc. Those called Bob Rosses Crosses. The citizens keep putting the rotten fruits back on the shelves with the new fruit. Int til the community shows up to meetings with pitch forks in hand, The downward spiral will continue. We need young fresh ideas not a large brick wall sign on 203 that know one will see when they travel at night driving to there house or condo. Put a letter board in the middle of the sign run by solar power and advertise our upcoming events so people can plan to attend them. There’s plenty of open space on that brick wall called a monument.

  3. How to generate revenue November 14, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    Perhaps Washington State, Colorado and Canada are on to something by legalizing pot.
    Supply and demand and a willingness to pay more than 25% in taxes on the product will generate obscene amounts of revenue.

  4. Steve November 14, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

    You can shove your tax increase, Urdi.

  5. ferdinand lopez November 14, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    looks more like m.m.s.a. wrapping its tentacles around the throat of the towns tourist dollars

  6. Ken Warner November 13, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    “[Urdi] points to the return on marketing investment and says for every dollar spent, $136 are brought back to the town and $4 in tax revenue goes to Town government.”

    Well hell, why mess with the small stuff. Spend 20 million dollars on marketing and gross 80 million dollars. Pay off MLLA in one year and then it’s fat city.

    How could anybody doubt Urdi’s logic?

  7. Mark November 13, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    omg ha ha good luck.

    Still doing what ever Rusty suggest. Does anyone in TOML think for themselves?

  8. upthecreek November 13, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    Tax Tax Tax…
    Spend Spend Spend…..


  9. Bad business November 13, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    The majority of tourists come for Southern California. The rest have been doing what they’ve doing for a couple of generations now – drive to Mammoth. Today, only the wealthiest (the disparity between mega-wealthy and the not-so-wealthy grows weekly) can afford the not-exactly inexpensive flight from L.A. to Mammoth and most of those mega-wealthy are attracted to the premiere resorts (some that even prohibit the low-spending snowboarders) such as Deer Valley in Park City, Utah.
    Until Mammoth can offer the same luxury amenities that Deer Valley does, there is no economic boon nor rationale for Mammoth to have a part-time airport.

    • Roger Rilling November 13, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

      The market is very much Southern Cal. The World class super wealthy that the “Bully in Black” was trying to attract– Do Not fly commercial. We didn’t need to change the airport at all. What we did need to do was provide the services we advertised. We did not– those folks won’t try us again.

      • Mark November 14, 2012 at 7:48 am #

        Rusty only appears to be a bully because the TOML council are a bunch of wimps.

        • Roger Rilling November 14, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

          Mark, the “Bully in Black” has been so since he was in high school.

          • Mark November 15, 2012 at 8:13 am #

            I don’t see him that way. Masterful manipulator would be my description.
            However Rusty has a credibility problem. And it’s the same credibility problem Arnold and Petraeus has; deceit.
            Anyone that would be deceitful to their wife would be deceitful to anyone if it fits their goal.
            He needs to continue to keep a low profile.

      • Corruption in Mammoth? November 14, 2012 at 10:05 am #

        Curiouser and curiouser …?

        Didn’t long-time Councilman, John Eastman, lobby intensely to create a cushy position at the airport for a relative of his?

        If this is true, does this not fall into the category of Confict of Interest?

        And could this conflict of interest be construed as corruption?

        And if so, shouldn’t John Eastman resign immediately?

        • Benett Kessler November 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

          Assistant Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez, who had just come to Mammoth, investigated and ordered that the position go back out for
          hire – starting all over – when the question of Eastman’s future son-in-law getting a job at the airport was raised. The young man did not
          get the job.
          Benett Kessler

          • Eastman should do the right thing November 14, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

            Thank you, Benett.

            The fact remains that it is entireably reasonable to determine that Councilman Eastman’s actions in this regard (trying to pull strings to get a relative a job) clearly demonstrates a Conflict of Interest. Eastman did not willingly recuse himself throughout the process and only after MMM brought this to the public’s attention did he cease and desist his actions, should be enough for the citizens of Mammoth Lakes to insist John Eastman do the honorable thing and resign immediately to help thwart any opportunites of corruption in Mammoth Lakes.

            We should also closely watch the actions of Matt Lehman who is a developer.

  10. MJA November 12, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    The airport and its developer sunk the Mammoth ship and now Rusty and a few of his cronies want to throw more money into it?
    Keep the music playin Mammoth but its time to swim!


  11. SierraFan November 12, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    I’m not a fan of subsidies either but I think if MMSA and the town want the money skiers to come in then they have to have the flight service. Don’t like it but it’s probably a good thing here. Minority here I know.

  12. Steve November 12, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

    Oh great more subsidies for air travel.


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