Mammoth Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht

Forecasts for Town of Mammoth finances ride the same wave as weather forecasts – dry and partly cloudy.  Even as Mammoth Mountain’s CEO confirmed a revenue shortfall of 30% and pay cuts for workers, Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht also confirmed that he and others are watching developments carefully, know a revenue shortfall will come and don’t know yet how they will handle it.

Wilbrecht said officials now await transient occupancy tax figures for January, which they will have in March and February TOT which will come out in April.  As a major revenue stream for Mammoth, TOT is expected to drop considerably.  Mammoth Chamber President, Brent Truax of Westin Monache, predicted TOT would drop by $1.2 to $3 million. Wilbrecht confirmed a shortfall but could not say how much yet.

Property tax revenues, the Town Manager said, will go down next fiscal year and expenditures, he said, will go up.  He said the Town is looking at increases in employee benefit costs, and fuel costs. Wilbrecht also confirmed that CalPERS also announced the cost of retirement will go up 5 to 6%.  “We’ll determine our shortfall,” said Wilbrecht, “and then decide how to finalize a plan.”

Wilbrecht said the Town will have to make decisions about levels of service.  He also said he met with employees this week to give them a heads up of shortfalls to come but a need to maintain services.  Wilbrecht said, “We’ll get the facts first as close as we can and then go to employees.”  Cuts for Town employees may be as likely as they were for Mammoth Mountain workers.  Wilbrecht did say that Town government will likely look at a combination of solutions.  “Employees,” he said, “have to want to negotiate.”

Meanwhile, no progress on debt negotiations with Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition. The Town will have to respond to MLLA’s court petition to collect its $42 million debt.  Wilbrecht said a hearing is scheduled for early March.  He said Mammoth still wants to negotiate or mediate a solution with MLLA.

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