“Let me also say, that we as staff are professional and respectful, and oftentimes we sit back and we hear comments made in this room, and then we deal with them privately. But I think it’s time for us to mention what I’m about to mention, and that is, give us credit for the progress that has been made on this budget. Three years ago you did not have this level of detail; 3 years ago, when you interviewed me for the interim position, you thought you had $14 million in the bank; you only had one. Three years ago we were before you with a budget that did not include $2.7 million in the line items. 2.7. Now it’s 500,000. It’s not perfect. We could have done better and with more staff and better technology we probably would have, but please give us credit for what we have done.”
-Town Manager MMMartinez
MMM said these words as the workshop preceding Wednesday’s Council meeting was winding down, tired of the abuse she was seemingly taking from all sides.
I suppose that’s the price one pays for the Porsche she drives.
When I tried to reach MMMartinez for follow-up comment on Thursday, I called the Town offices, then dialed the Town Manager’s historical extension (226).
I was surprised to hear former Assistant to the Town Manager Robin Picken’s voice, informing me that former Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht was currently unavailable.
I guess they’re so busy creating new budgets that they don’t have time to change the voicemail message. That or they never check the inbox because returning phone calls would be a superfluous waste of staff time.
So this is what I don’t get. In the FY 2013-14 budgeting process, the Town’s Finance Director, Cyndi Myrold, “discovers” a $91,000 shortfall in revenue (apparently caught the error last week) based upon the commercial airline schedule dropping from seven daily flights to six this past winter. This is part of the $562,000 shortfall projected for FY 2013-2014.
“Why didn’t we catch this?” asked Mammoth Lakes Tourism Executive Director John Urdi rhetorically the day after. “That flight [San Jose] was canceled well before budgets were finalized.”
Further, says Public Works Director Ray Jarvis, even now Finance has no clue how the number was arrived at.
“I don’t know where it came from … I couldn’t re-create that number,” he said.
Jarvis said losing one flight should reduce Town revenue as follows: 122 winter flights multiplied by $240 per flight in landing fees = $29,280.
According to Jarvis, Myrold asked him “How do we explain this [the $91,000 number]?”
Jarvis said he replied, “Beats the crap out of me.”
Makes you wonder how good the rest of the numbers are.
I tried calling Ms. Myrold on Thursday to ask her about the $91,000 but only got an answering machine (which, to her credit, includes a personalized voicemail message for Cyndi Myrold). I then went over to the Town offices to see if personal pestering would help, but Myrold and the rest of the Finance Department (save one staffer), apparently all exhausted by the hard work they’ve been doing lately, checked out at 2 p.m. for the day.
Furthermore, MMMartinez would apparently like to reward her by gifting two additional employees to her department – T.O.T. (Transient Occupancy Tax) compliance positions.
T.O.T. compliance is currently handled by the Community Development Department.
Chamber looks for shelter under MLT umbrella
On Wednesday, Mammoth Lakes Chamber of Commerce President Jack Copeland sent out an email which stated that “The Chamber Board and I would like to join forces with Mammoth Lakes Tourism for the benefit of businesses, the community and our visitors.”
As Copeland is out of town, I asked MLT’s Urdi what this means.
Urdi said the Chamber would be essentially absorbed as part of MLT. That the Chamber would hire a Director and would retain its Board, but that Urdi would sit as an Ex-Oficio member of that Board and that the Director would ultimately report to Urdi.
Expect the Director’s position to be floated sometime around July 1, with a projected compensation package of approximately $75,000.
BID open house slated for Thursday
For all those who wish to know more about the formation of a proposed Business Improvement District, Rafters will host an open house next Thursday from 5-7 p.m.
If you’d like to study up beforehand, you can visit www.mltbid.com for more information.
Mono County Sheriff’s Dept. joins Facebook
The Mono County Sheriff’s Department has joined the social media bandwagon with the introduction of their official Facebook page. Please visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mono-County-Sheriffs-Department/597961140216123 and “like” us.
Good news for County residents, seeing as all that time formerly spent goofing off on Facebook can now be counted as “work” for department employees.