Council to reach out to residents on budget, MLLA situations; first of two open discussions set for Wednesday

The best of Wednesday’s 6 p.m. Town Council meeting is the last item on its agenda.

That’s just one indicator of the interest the public may have in the town’s ongoing fiscal situation, from its projected budget shortfalls to the impact of the $42 million Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition judgment.

Wednesday’s meeting, at the Town Council Chambers, Suite Z on the second floor of the Minaret Village Mall, also will feature a number of other items.

There will be an update on the Red’s Meadow tree blowdown by Fire Chief Brent Harper and Sue Farley, the Inyo National Forest’s Vegetation Management Planner, a possible reorganization of the town government and a discussion of the new, changeable message sign to be placed on S.R. 203 near the intersection with U.S. Hwy. 395.

But the big-ticket item will be all about the fiscal impacts of the judgment and shortfall.

The council said it wants to hear from the citizens of Mammoth Lakes. To that end, the council also has scheduled an open meeting for May 8, also in Suite Z, which will be clear of other town business.

So far, the council own has held several public presentations on matters related to the town’s finances, the MLLA judgment and settlement negotiations, along with the recently initiated mediation process.

The most recent discussion was held on April 18.

During that meeting, Town staff presented to the community the composition of the town’s budget, an update on the town’s finances, including a budget gap of $1 million estimated for Fiscal Year 2011-2012, and a baseline shortfall of $2.9 million projected for Fiscal Year 2012-13, including a draft schedule of future public discussion regarding these matters

In both meetings, members of the town staff, led by Assistant Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez and Town Manger Dave Wilbert, plan to provide the current status of the town’s mediation efforts with its creditors.

In addition, the staff plans to expand on the budget summary information presented last April 18 and provide additional details on where the town gets its money and how it spends it.

Finally, and perhaps the most interesting part of the meeting, the council says it will “begin a community discussion of the town’s spending priorities for Fiscal Year 2012-13. In other words, what will stay and what will have to go away, at least for a time.

Most importantly, the Town plans to engage the community in the discussion of the necessary balancing measures that will be required to achieve a balanced budget and generate funds for MLLA and other creditors.

In addition, the town it a press release encouraged residents to inform the Town Council what services are most important to them, and what services they believe are needed to maintain our status as a premier year-round resort community.

“We urge all residents of the Town of Mammoth Lakes to attend these meetings.”

To receive additional information or for any other questions, please contact the Town Manager’s Office at 760-934-8989, extension 223.