Doblick offers direction
I write this letter because of my concern regarding the Town of Mammoth Lakes’ financial direction. During my 30 years of living in Mono County and Mammoth Lakes, I have been fortunate to live a great lifestyle and have been able to work as a general contractor and now, as a Mammoth real estate salesperson.
Our town is now in what is possibly its worst financial predicament, with a $30 million airport lawsuit judgment against it, declining property tax revenue, an abundance of vacant commercial properties, home foreclosures and short sales at an all-time high, and new home building permits all most nonexistent, with no signs of economic recovery in the near future. The spending decisions our elected Mono County Supervisors and Mammoth Town Council members make should be only for essential spending, while making a commitment to balance the budget.
Don’t you think it is time to tighten our town’s spending habits and start saving on the non-essential items that don’t serve our community members’ health and safety? How is the Town of Mammoth planning on paying for the $30 million airport lawsuit, and how long will it take to pay off this debt? Are you planning on raising our taxes?
I suggest our town and county leaders quit spending our money on redundant and non-emergency items and instead work together on long-term cost saving measures. Our town’s irrational spending is not the same as investing for a sustainable future. Rather than pay a wildlife officer, perhaps the Wildlife Committee could educate the public and enforce some of our wildlife/dumpster problems. Have the Town enforce the laws regarding open dumpsters/trash cans and feeding wildlife, make bear proof dumpsters mandatory for all restaurants/condos/hotels, and collect associated fines. Close off access to bears who live in town culverts, and educate home owners/condo managers to be more proactive with wildlife invasion (use non-lethal EPA Approved bear pepper spray as a deterrent?). When the town gives a permit for a large festival/concert make the applicant supply their own private security force so as not to be a strain on our local police dept. Make food vendors provide adequate on-site trash facilities and remove trash promptly, and supply their own parking employees. Have well lighted restroom areas as well.
The town’s ordinances regarding transient occupancy permits for homes/condos /hotels should be strictly enforced, and any needed changes must include accountability, such as yearly inspections for permit renewal with yearly fees by a compliance officer. Allow more nightly rentals of single family homes to generate room tax revenue. Are the homes in the Starwood subdivision, Juniper Ridge, and Lodestar Drive permitted for transient occupancy? Have there been any major problems with these homes as nightly rentals? How much TOT (rioom tax) do these homes generate? Would more nightly home rentals create new local businesses or jobs?
Can the Town of Mammoth and Mono County afford to subsidize the airport’s airline industry? What percentage of TOT of the package deals (air fare, lift tickets, accommodations) does the town actually realize to its benefit? How do the subsidized commercial airlines benefit Mammoth Mountain compared to the town and county?
Our town also needs to utilize all its recreation resources during the spring, summer, and fall to improve occupancy and revenue that would also benefit our community. We could have a celebrity golf tournament, stand-up paddle board/kite board /wake board event, glider plane/hot air balloon festival, off-road rally/classic car event, fishing/shooting/archery events, high altitude marathon/triathlons, etc.
The ultimate answer is Debt Reduction thru Fiscal Responsibility!