Mammoth Council approves committee to examine NGO allocations
On Wednesday, March 1, Mammoth’s Town Council approved the creation of a council committee of members Mayor Pro-Tem John Wentworth and Colin Fernie to review allocation of Transient Occupancy Tax funding to several Town partners.
Though Councilmember Bill Sauser repeatedly insisted that he would prefer holding workshops to approving the agenda item before him, he nevertheless joined the unanimous vote to create the two-person committee, whose work will not be subject to the Brown Act. The committee is also not required to hold public meetings, said Town Manger Dan Holler.
The work of the committee will be short term by design, said Holler, and it will not be a decision-making body. Any changes the committee suggests to funding for Mammoth Lakes Housing (MLH), Mammoth Lakes Tourism (MLT) or the Eastern Sierra Transit Authority (ESTA), must be approved by Town Council. Of course, two-fifths of Town Council comprise the committee and would need only one more vote to implement changes.
Holler said on Wednesday that many of the current allocations were decided after the Town’s 2012 settlement in the wake of the lawsuit over the fumbled development at the Mammoth-Yosemite Airport.
“The element of how we allocate [TOT funds] was opened at that point,” said Holler.
Holler explained to The Sheet on Thursday that the Town currently allocates 2.5 percent of the 13 percent Transient Occupancy Tax to the tourism nonprofit (MLT). “Of the 10.5 percent that is left, one percent goes to ESTA.”
Housing, Holler said on Wednesday, “is a completely different animal.” He said that MLH gets “around $550,000 annually” which includes administrative costs, about $200,000 annually in debt, such as home loan repayment, “and the remaining portion is the Town’s side of housing expenditures…” said Holler on Thursday.