A Council of three (absent Councilmembers Shields Richardson and Michael Raimondo) approved a lease agreement between the Town and new non-profit Mammoth Lakes Recreation (MLR) at Wednesday night’s meeting in Suite Z.
MLR will move into the Mammoth Lakes Tourism (MLT) administrative office at 2520 Main Street, with a one-time lease payment to the Town of $100 for the term of the lease, which expires in June of 2017.
Given the new lease, and a new MLR Board to be seated Oct. 27, members of Town Council, the Recreation Commission, and Recreation Department sat down prior to the regular meeting to discuss the future of the Town’s Recreation Department, or “Community Recreation.”
Recreation Department supporters expressed concern during the MLR formation process that MLR would supplant Community Recreation, but the Wednesday workshop offered reassurance that this would not be the case.
“The way the Recreation Commission sees it is that MLR will be focusing on the big picture: research, development, and investment,” said Recreation Commission Chair Betsy Truax. Community Recreation, on the other hand, will be tasked with operations, programming, promotion, “and parks, too,” she said.
Workshop participants agreed that collaboration between MLR and Community Recreation is necessary to avoid duplication of efforts, and supported the idea of liaisons from both Recreation entities.
“I do not believe that the role [of Community Recreation] is going to change dramatically,” concluded Recreation Commissioner Bill Sauser.
Council also received a report from Nate Greenberg, Information Technology Director for Mono County and the Town of Mammoth Lakes, regarding an IT Draft Strategic Plan.
Greenberg explained that until this draft, Mono County had never produced a strategic plan to guide its approach to IT. As a result, “Without a very clear goal or direction, we don’t necessarily know what we’re doing, and we’re constantly reacting to things,” he said.
Greenberg explained some of the challenges facing the IT department at present. For starters, the department has a staff of 10 to support a customer base of 340 full time equivalent employees. The IT department has over 150 known and identified projects in queue, but spends more than half of its time answering standard support requests. Greenberg said he hopes to bring the number of support requests down with more strategic IT training sessions.
Other two-year goals include implementing Digital 395 at all County and Town facilities, upgrading the finance system and implementing electronic time sheets, and improving video conferencing.
Both the County and Town have already seen the benefits of streamlined networks, thanks to Digital 395 and IT department efforts. Greenberg said that because of D395, IT was able to consolidate the County network, increasing internet speed by 30 times and cutting costs roughly in half.
Greenberg said this would save the County about $25,000 a year.
Recently, the IT department also tackled the Town’s network problems. Greenberg explained that the Town used to have eight remote sites (such as the airport, town offices, police department, and ice rink), with no network between them.
“Digital 395 allowed us to connect those,” he said.
One benefit: the Town currently spends about $60,000 annually on its phone system. Thanks to the connectivity possible through D395, “we could replace the entire phone system at that cost and save roughly $40,000 annually going forward,” Greenberg said.
Greenberg said that he and staff would continue reviewing comments from the IT department and Town and County department heads, with the aim of developing a formal strategic plan document in spring of 2015.