Vote means limited October-November service given clearance to take off
Tuesday was deadline day for Mono County’s Board of Supervisors, which needed to give a go or no-go to participation as a sponsor for what the staff report called “spring/summer/fall” air service. In a heavily debated 3-1 vote, the Board opted to kick in $45,000 worth of subsidies to Horizon Air, effectively closing a six-week gap in fall air service. The County’s sign-on has been viewed as somewhat historic, in that since Horizon Air started air service at Mammoth Yosemite Airport (MMH) in 2008, Mono County has remained firmly on the sidelines, declining previous offers to partner with the Town of Mammoth Lakes and Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.
On April 20, TOML Deputy Town Manager Karen Johnston presented a proposal for the County to partner with TOML and MMSA in a deal that would fill in the six-weeks of down time on the Horizon schedule between October and the first two weeks of November, which is largely considered a slower “shoulder season” period for Mammoth and much of Mono County in general. Currently the “summer” schedule runs from April through the end of September.
Mammoth Mountain Marketing Director Howard Pickett made the new pitch to the Board, estimating the shortfall at $500,000, but saying the economic benefit to the area could amount to as much as $8 million.
Supervisor Vikki Bauer urged for approval, saying “now is the time we could make a difference.” Vice Chair Hap Hazard, however, criticized both what he called a premature, flawed plan, as well as Horizon’s lack of monetary risk in the deal. Hazard cast the dissenting vote. Chair Byng Hunt was unable to attend the meeting.
Read the full story in this weekend’s edition of The Sheet, and online at thesheetnews.com.