Time for Mammoth people to weigh losses

mammothtownofficesThe past year has kept Mammoth Lakes residents mostly in the dark about negotiations over the lawsuit judgment debt. Now, Town officials say they want to hear from people on proposed plans to cut seven police officers and six other employees along with the closure of Whitmore Park and Pool – this, to raise $2 million per year to pay off the debt.

Citizens can find the five-year plan proposed by Town officials on the  Town of Mammoth Lakes website. Google Town of Mammoth Lakes. On the left, click on “Town’s Settlement with MLLA”. Then, scroll down to Settlement Agreement and Related Documents. Under September 27, 2012 Documents, click on Proposed Restructuring Plan. You can go to our website to read this again.

For those who do not feel good about reading financial documents, the plan looks like a confusion of numbers. In plain terms, the documents say that the Town will come up short by more than $971,000 this fiscal year. That takes into account the more than $2.5 million payment to MLLA and $50,000 payment to Terry Ballas.

The documents then show the proposal to make up the $971,000 short-fall. Police Department cuts add up to $540,000. This includes elimination of seven officers – the Police Lieutenant, two sergeants and four officers. The plan also includes a cut of more than $287,000 from Community Development and a nearly $90,000 cut from Public Works and Parks. This year, closure of Whitmore Park and Pool will save $57,416. The total savings of eliminating the pool and one parks maintenance position will save the nearly $90,000.

The plan also includes elimination of the Budget Manager with a transfer of duties to the Assistant Town Manager for a savings of $69,000 plus. Other IT changes add up to a total savings of more than $96,000 in Finance and IT. To balance the budget this year, the proposal calls for use of $1.4 million from the Reserve for Economic Uncertainty, last year’s surplus and current surplus.

Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht said that some legal fees will be returned to the Town and count as surplus. He said that he and others are “moving through implementing the plan and meeting with collective bargaining groups.” Wilbrecht said the restructuring plan will be on every Town Council agenda for the public to come forward with what they want. The Town Manager did say that emails and calls have come in to say that people want to offset proposed cuts. He said officials hope the public will bring up these thoughts “sooner than later.”

Wilbrecht did confirm that money from Tax Measures A and T “can be used to offset the proposed cuts.” Two Measures A were voted in as general fund tax money with the suggestion that they be spent on tourism and housing. Measure T is the same kind of general tax with a suggestion of expense on transit. These three measures bring in more than $3 million per year. Measures R and U funds could also be used for certain things.

When asked if citizens could say they want the Town to spend Measures A and T on the budget and save the police officers, Manager Wilbrecht said, “I’m expecting that.” The item on budget cuts is the last one on Wednesday night’s agenda which is relatively short.

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16 Responses to Time for Mammoth people to weigh losses

  1. Mark October 4, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    “Time for Mammoth people to weigh losses”

    ^everytime I read this headline my eyes see^

    “Time for Mammoth people to lose weight”

    which ironically is also true

  2. Runaway graft October 4, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    At last night’s Mammoth Lakes council meeting, Councilman Wood, who was part of the airport mess, told the audience if citizens wanted to allocate items such as TOT monies directed to such and such a project, etc.(that was voter approved, might I add) and some constituents wanted the money to go elsewhere other than for the original project, the council would “invade and consider other issues and areas where the money should go instead depending on further discussion from the citizens.”
    I take that to imply no vote from the citizens is necessary and the 5 councilmen can do whatever they please with the funds. If one or two citizens can pursuade the councilmen it sounds like its a done deal.
    I believe we have found the problem inherent to the system. Runaway graft.

    • Councilman Wood should resign October 5, 2012 at 8:00 am #

      Graft is a form of political corruption that can be defined as an unscrupulous use of a politician’s authority for personal gain. Most governmental systems have laws in place to prevent graft although this does not always halt political corruption.

      Traditional example of political graft is someone exchanges a political donation for political favor (e.g. ristournes in Quebec or tangenti in Italy). Grafting, however, does not require another individual to be involved. It is possible to skim money directly from government funds, commit acts like [[insider trading] William M. Tweed or “Boss Tweed” was taken out of his position in the United States Senate to help to prevent graft and other political corruption, but this failed.

      Sorry Councilman Wood. Your statement at the last meeting that the Council will “invade” what the voters have already approved, (because a constituent(s) wants the money to go elsewhere, violates the voting procedures and is totally wrong.
      Your immediate resignation is warranted.

  3. cl October 3, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

    Close up the useless and corrupt Housing. Use the funds to keep the police properly staffed.

  4. MJA October 3, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    There nothing right about paying 160,000 dollars a month for 23 years to anyone.
    Don’t pay him, two wrongs won’t make this right!


  5. Bookkeeping 101 October 3, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    “The info on the Town website is not easy to find unless you know the clues. They are in our story. There is a six-page restructuring plan written out as a kind of financial statement”

    Lesson #38:
    Always find ways to hide the money and hire those that can do it best.

  6. a flaw in the system October 3, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    It is too bad the at-will town manager does not have the power to fire the two elected officials who were around at the very beginning of the whole mess (and are STILL around), instead of the other way around.

  7. Sean F October 2, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

    I got it! A toll booth on the 203! Money problems solved.

    Seriously TC just creat some super small tax citizens will be OK with, sell a piece of property, and charge $1 to get on the city buses. All will be well.

  8. Fool me once! October 2, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    No police officers will be laid off, this is nothing more than manipulation of public opinion to come to a predetermined solution, attempting to make the public think it was their idea.

    Finally the real agenda:

    “When asked if citizens could say they want the Town to spend Measures A and T on the budget and save the police officers, Manager Wilbrecht said, “I’m expecting that.” The item on budget cuts is the last one on Wednesday night’s agenda which is relatively short”.

    “Jeopardizing the towns public safety by the proposed cuts to Mammoth Lakes Police Department is irresponsible. Raising the dollars for the MLLA payments using program cuts is nothing more than political blackmail. These folks have no new ideas, just excuses for needing to take another bite of the tax apple,covering for the past, present, and future financial incompetence”.

    I rest my case, the one dissenting vote on the town council told us we were being conned, do the voters have any doubts now? Three months ago we were bankrupt, then we settled for a discount of 29.5 million,which is really closer to 50 million with front loaded interest. Another three million for the fixed based operator to buy out any other claims, but we’re expected to forget all that. These management professionals are now going to save the day by taking another bite of the tax apple to save 7 police officers positions that were never in any real jeopardy.

    After all the MLLA settlement drama, we get the privilege of paying millions in town attorney fees, a town manager, an assistant town manager and a police chief about a million dollars a year total compensation for a financially distressed town of 7,000.

    An electorate of morons, if these bureaucrats and elected leaders are not held accountable for this charade!

    • Ken Warner October 3, 2012 at 8:53 am #

      What is Measure A and what is Measure T?

      • Benett Kessler October 3, 2012 at 10:09 am #

        There are two Measures A. As Dave Wilbrecht told me, they are general taxes with Council discussions that the funds would be spent on tourism and housing.
        According to the Town’s restructuring plan, Measure A for tourism brings in roughly $2.2 million per year. Measure A-housing brings in $329,000 per year.
        Measure T is also a general tax with the suggested expenditure on transit. This brings in an increasing amount over time – $733,000 to $796,000 per year.
        Wilbrecht said these dollars can be spent on other things if the public wants – like general budget needs to offset proposed cuts.

        Measures U and R are more specific in their expenditures. R brings in over $1 million per year. U $922,853 per year.

        Benett Kessler

        • Ken Warner October 3, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

          Thanks for the details. I looked through the town’s website for information and couldn’t find any specific info on A and T.

          On the surface, it looks like there is enough to fund the P.D. simply by redirecting the funds spent for Tourism and Housing. Things may not be simple in actuality.

          But cutting the P.D. is clearly the wrong thing to do — in my mind.

          • Benett Kessler October 3, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

            The info on the Town website is not easy to find unless you know the clues. They are in our story. There is a six-page restructuring plan written out as a kind of financial statement.
            Info on the tax measures is on page 6.

  9. Tourbillon October 2, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    Driving from Mammoth south today, saw 2 CHP and one Sheriff within a one mile radius of the 203 and 395 merge, handing out tickets. On a slow Tuesday afternoon during the slow shoulder season.

    We have grown accustomed to being over-policed, which has become the new norm. And people are terrified of changing the norm, however warped it has become.

    • john Delgado October 5, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

      Somebody;s gots 2 pay $ for those $Big$ Fat $ Pension Funds, and cushy $alaries 🙂

  10. MoMoney October 2, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    This article doesn’t point out that Mammoth Lakes Housing is also funded through Measure A, and this money is also up for grabs. Housing, while necessary to some degree, may no longer be a priority (at least for now) and perhaps this money should be used to offset the proposed cuts to the PD (or at least some of them).


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