“When things go badly in a community, throwing money at the problem won’t necessarily fix it,” stated Supervisor Vikki Bauer during her Board report at Tuesday’s Mono County Board of Supervisors meeting.
She was referring to the latest stumbling block in the June Lake community. The Mono County Tourism and Film Commission, which is housing the $100,000 that the County bestowed upon the community to help it get through the upcoming winter without June Mountain, has been looking for a local June Lake agency to cut the checks for projects that are deemed appropriate ways to spend the funding. It had been suggested that the June Lake Chamber be this entity and last week a Chamber meeting was held to discuss the idea.
“We had another explosion in June Lake,” Bauer said as she explained what had happened. The Chamber is small and has about six or seven people consistently running it, she explained. There is such a fluctuation in participation that the group has a “President of the Month” rather than a full-time president since no one wants to take on a longer commitment.
Bauer explained that approximately $65,000-$70,000 of the money has been agreed upon by most and will be used for promotion and the hiring of a PR firm to help market the area this winter.
It’s the last 30% of the money that is now the issue.
The Chamber was asked to handle the remaining $30,000-$35,000, but as Bauer pointed out this would put the group in a tough spot.
“We are a minimal Chamber and we bring in about $10,000 a year so we don’t have a lot of paperwork to deal with,” Bauer said. If it were to take on the responsibility of the $30,000, however, the group would be bumped up into a new level of accountability and liability.
In addition to paperwork issues, the community does not agree upon the ways to spend these remaining funds.
Bauer brought up the ideas of lights that some have suggested by strung around town as well as snowplay and cross-country ski areas as two contentious items.
Businesses need to be asked if they want lights on their buildings, and the snowplay and cross-country ski areas have yet to be located or planned, Bauer said.
However, at last week’s meeting, the five Chamber members who regularly attend meetings were out voted by six other members who usually fail to come to the Chamber table, but showed up to vote in support of the above-mentioned ideas.
Concerned with the direction things are taking, Bauer and another member of the Chamber have stepped down.
“It’s a changing of the guard and we’re getting some new blood in there, which will hopefully be a good thing,” Bauer said diplomatically. “I’m tired of fighting so I’m getting out of the way.”
She added that transit talks and seeking a buyer for the ski area have been taken off the table as ways to spend the funds.
“Little white lights are not going to fix things,” Bauer said. “Some people are so desperate that they are moving forward with things that didn’t work when there was a ski area.”
“It’s like giving a starving man a diet Dr. Pepper,” Supervisor Hap Hazard said in reference to the white lights. “I think we need to ask for that 30% back. I don’t think we should be paying for lights.”
The Board agreed to request a progress report be placed on a future agenda in order to hear more details on how the community plans to use the funds.