MLR Recommends financing the MUF using a bond.
At Tuesday’s Mammoth Lakes Recreation (MLR) Board meeting, Board members voted to recommend that Mammoth’s Town Council initiate a $5 million bond to finance the construction of a new Multi-Use Facility (MUF) at Mammoth Creek Park West.
The Board deliberated for two and a half hours over the comments made in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), published on April 25. Forty five negative comments were lodged in the EIS. Only one member of the public spoke in favor of the “value-engineered” $9 million project, which, if Town Council approves a bond, would lock up all but $448,780 (per year) in Measure R and U funds for other things.
Measures R and U generate approximately $1.25 million annually.
At Tuesday’s meeting, members of the Board (excepting Mayor Shields Richardson, who abstained) voted 5-0 to recommend financing several priority projects in phases over the next ten years by leveraging nearly all of the existing Measure R and U reserve funds in a bond. The Board recommended that $2.5 million in one-time capital be allocated to the construction of the Mammoth Arts and Cultural Center (MACC), and that $9.5 million be allocated to finance the construction of the MUF.
Of those funds, $5 million would come from bonds, to be paid back over ten years with annual debt payments of $601,207 from Measure R. This funding scenario included funding for a $50,000 Feasibility Study regarding an Aquatic Center, one-time Trails Department funding of $500,000, ongoing maintenance and operations costs for the new facilities, and funding for existing programming.
Town Finance Director Rob Patterson told Board members that interest rates are currently at 3.5 percent.
This plan still leaves a $1.5 to $2 million funding gap. There was some disagreement among Board members about whether or not a request could be made to Town Council for General Fund dollars to cover it.
The MLR Board is currently reviewing applicants to replace founding Executive Director Rich Boccia. According to Board President Tom Johnson, fundraising acumen is a primary focus of that candidate search and many of the applicants currently under review have proven their ability to raise funds on that scale at other organizations. As part of the new Executive Director’s contract, MLR has requested a fundraising budget of $75,000 per year for the next three years. MLR’s staff salaries and other operating costs are currently funded by Measure R. Right now, MLR staff cannot fundraise for projects, as Measure R funds are not allowed to be used for fundraising. Also in that contract, MLR’s new Executive Director will be responsible for presenting a Funds Development Strategy to Town Council by January 1, 2018, with the goal of raising $2 million within the next three years.