Currently discussions between Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition and the Town of Mammoth Lakes regarding the Hot Creek settlement are like a game of Ping-Pong, with each side taking its turn bouncing ideas back to the other. The ball is presently in the Town’s court as just this week MLLA responded to TOML’s counter offer with … a counter offer.
The underlying question, at least in my mind, is whether all of this talk and back and forth will be worth it in the end? Will the Town ultimately be forced to file for bankruptcy, anyway?
“They did make a counter and we’re looking at it,” said TOML Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht. He added that the Town does plan to make another counter offer back to MLLA.
“If we had liked it [the counter] we would have accepted it,” Wilbrecht continued. “We need to negotiate more.”
At the present time, the Town and MLLA are in settlement talks. The next step of the lawsuit settlement process, if negotiations go nowhere, would be mediation. If that fails, bankruptcy would be next in line.
When asked whether or not the settlement talks were working, Wilbrecht said it was too early to say. “We won’t know until neither party can counter anymore. Right now we are continuing to talk in good faith. Both parties want to work this out, but it is very complex and it’s a lot of money.” Currently the dollar figure sits at $42 million.
“You have to remember that this is a different kind of negotiation,” he added. “It’s not like negotiating for a car where if you don’t like dealing with one dealer you can go on to the next one.
“If it takes a long time, that’s OK, as long as we’re making progress,” Wilbrecht said.
The Town Council held a special closed session meeting on Wednesday to review the counter offer. According to Wilbrecht, there was no reportable action from that session.