Stapp dissects TOML survey
Dear Mayor Lehman and Members of the Town Council:
Last week I completed the Town’s “Resident Survey.” I shook my head in disbelief, a survey is not a vote. The survey asks residents for feedback. Are individuals who work and vote in Mammoth but live in Crowley precluded from participating? The “Resident Survey” included a box where a resident can identify themselves as a visitor, it makes no sense. What happens if a thousand elementary and middle school students (residents or visitors) complete the survey? Will their opinions count?
I assume the purpose for the survey is to provide political cover for Council now that it has reneged on decades of political commitments.
Survey question #4 asks residents to give Council permission to: “Further (emphasis added) reduce support for …” Measure A marketing and 2002 A housing. The question clearly acknowledges that Council has already reneged on these two Measures. How much “Further” is the Council anticipating reducing these voter approved Measures or is the Council simply asking for carte blanche?
The facts are that the Town has already reneged on it political commitments: 1) using marketing dollars to subsidize air service ($250,000), 2) diverting 18% of transit funds (Measure T) and 58% of housing funds to the Town’s General Fund. There is also the dispute with Parks and Rec over the use of Measure R monies to fund Whitmore Pool.
The survey also appears to be designed to frighten people into supporting an Admission Tax in lieu of cuts (a 3% surcharge on all lift tickets generates in excess of $2,000,000). According to the survey’s “CONTROVERSIAL CUTS,” one cut is to eliminate seven sworn officer positions from the Police Department.
It has been suggested that the Police Officers Association, POA, give up salaries and benefits in exchange for reducing the number of staff cuts from seven to five or four. This approach shifts the public safety levels of service to the POA. In other words, levels of public safety, an essential Council responsibility, will be established by the POA.
In regards to question #3: “Would you support raising new revenues…” The question gives several options, but every option omits cost per resident/visitor and estimated revenues. Withholding this information invalidates the survey. To wit: Very few property owners are going to vote for a $150 annual parcel tax.
As a Mammoth Resident and someone who cares deeply about Mammoth’s future, I would strongly suggest that Town Council scrap the “Resident Survey” and staff’s “Five Year Plan.” Instead focus on the next 20 months and the 2014 election. First, the Council should candidly identify the revenues being shifted from Measures A, 2002A, T and R which are being used for other purposes or shifted to the General Fund to fund the MLLA/Ballas settlement. Secondly, the Council needs to adopt a 20 month austerity budget using the revenues taken from the above mentioned Measures to bridge the 20 month budget. Thirdly, the Council needs to commit to putting on the 2014 ballot (or sooner) Measures to raise revenues, or Measures that memorialize shifting of monies from Measures A, 2002A, T and R.
Former Councilman and Mayor
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