Mammoth gets scathing report on its (lack of) economic future

Already feeling the slings and arrows from its citizens, the Mammoth Town Council on Wednesday was to receive an unsparing, stinging report on the town’s economic future.

The 16-page report, created by FTI Capital Advisors, is entitled “Impact of Potential Tax Increases on Mammoth Lakes Economy,." It was prepared by Glenn D. Meyers, Ph.D. G. and William Kennedy, Ph.D., CPA/ABV, the managing director of the firm.

Boiled down to its essence, the report said Mammoth is overtaxed already, its housing problems are just as bad as everyone thought they were, and there is no bright future ahead. More taxes, the report said, would make things worse than they already are.

Whether intended or not, the report also answered outgoing councilman Skip Harvey, who in early May suggested the town raise revenues with additional, self-imposed taxes.

“I don’t want to see this town go backward,” Harvey said on May 9. “We’re getting things moving, but I don’t think we can get out of this without the help of the people. I think it’s going to take some kind of tax on the people—an entertainment/admissions tax—something that will bring the people, that would bring Mammoth Mountain in on it, to help us get out of this.

“There’s only so much money. We need to generate some revenue. We can continue to cut, but we need to generate some revenue to help get us out of the mess that we’re in.”

However, the FTI report argues strenuously against any kind of new tax.

“Long-term, the economy of Mammoth Lakes has been stagnant, and on a near-term basis in decline; nor is recovery expected in the foreseeable future. Imposition of added taxes not serving to finance improvements in municipal services or investment in growth could only exacerbate these problems and make recovery that much more unlikely.

"Even a tax whose proceeds are spent in the economy taxed (not a reasonable assumption in this case) would reduce that economy’s growth."

In its conclusions, FTI wrote,

“No potential particular tax increase would be innocuous in its effects on Mammoth Lakes, either from an equity perspective or from the standpoint of economic growth. The welfare of the resident population is inseparably linked to the competitiveness of the ski resort and the derived demand for all facilities existing because of it, including all related real estate.”

The council was to have a chance to respond to the report at its Wednesday, June 6 meeting at Suite Z of the town offices above the Minaret Cinema.

More details on the report and the council meeting will be in the Mammoth Times in its June 8 edition.