Ha! You thought the above headline referred to the Town’s finances. Instead, I’m referring to the Town’s proposed airport terminal expansion.
On Wednesday night, I attended the Town’s workshop to discuss the proposed 40,000-square foot expansion, which would provide the airport the capacity to handle 3 AAOT (Airplanes at One Time).
John Walter was there. I asked the Grand Poobah of the Advocates for Mammoth (and Town Airport Commissioner) if he was worried about how AAOT would affect PAOT.
Yes and no.
First, Walter thinks the estimation made by Consultant Kent Myers that the airport will garner close to 150,000 enplanements per year by 2020 is too high.
But even at that level, that only amounts to about 1,000 passengers per day during the ski season.
An airplane these days is pretty much the same as a bus, said Walter. It’s no different than the tour buses Dave McCoy brought in during the old days. “They’re sky buses,” said Walter.
He also thinks that the width of the runway is self-limiting, preventing airplanes larger than a 737 from landing in Mammoth. “I have a level of comfort knowing they can’t bring in 757s,” said Walter.
The project is estimated to cost about $20 million, but Mammoth Lakes Tourism Director John Urdi says the Federal Aviation Administration could pay for up to 85%, leaving the Town on the hook for anywhere between $3 and $5 million.
Where that money will come from, I couldn’t hazard a guess.
If the Town does not invest in a new terminal, it is estimated that it will outgrow the current temporary structure within the next five years.
Trademark Properties (Matthew Lehman) has been hired by Sam Walker and Dennis Hartman to sell the Sam’s Wood Site parcel.
The 4.04 acre parcel is being listed at $5.9 million.
What a difference a few years makes. Not long ago, the same property was under contract for $13 million, but the deal didn’t close.
The property, located across the street from Stonegate, is familiar to locals and tourists alike because of the many events hosted there over the years. It’s zoned within the Village Specific Plan with a Specialty Lodging overlay which allows for density of 48 bedrooms to the acre.
Lehman said the ultimate goal is to sell the property, but that he will look at some “creative options,” including the possibility of site retention (for Town use) and/or density transfer.
Lehman, who has known Sam Walker since he was a toddler, did mention that he’s played poker with Walker.
“In that case, I guess Sam must have some respect for your poker-playing abilities,” I said.
“You’d have to ask him,” laughed Lehman.
“Who took who’s money?”
“I can’t remember.”
So the Town’s play structure at Mammoth Creek Park is unsafe and we’re at risk of incurring yet another lawsuit … okay. We’ll have Geisel go play out there on Monday, Kirkner Tuesday, Wolf Wednesday … it’ll be like splitting a lotto ticket. Ah, never mind. How would we ever collect?
Here is a snapshot of why government doesn’t work. A March 23 story in the Wall Street Journal talked about how actuaries wish to adopt more conservative long-term investment expectations for public pension funds.
Currently, Calpers assumes an investment return of 7.75%.
But if you lower that rate, that means that local governments would have to set aside more money for benefits – the lesser the return, the more principal you have to put into the pot to reach the desired outcome.
Local governments, however, are broke. So even though we all know
the return rate is pie in the sky, local officials are fighting to keep the rate the same so they’ll have to set aside less money.
As the article states, “Lowering the return rate to 7.5% … would have bumped up what local California governments pay to the state pension fund by 1.5% to about 3% of their payroll.”
So you stick to the same bad formula because you’re either incapable or unwilling to face new realities?
If the unions don’t budge now, they may not have the opportunity to budge later, because there’ll be nothing left. Which is perhaps why the City of L.A. and its unions reached a deal a few weeks back marked by various concessions designed to shore up the city’s $450 million budget shortfall.
I hope they’re not sending anyone up here to play at the park.
Late announcement: Assemblywoman Kristen Olsen, who took over for Ted Gaines (who leaped to the Senate) will hold a public meet-and-greet this Tuesday in Mammoth Lakes at Suite Z in the Minaret Mall from 6 to 7:30 p.m.