Mammoth Lakes, California

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Transparency grading process
Mammoth Lakes is a city of approximately 8,300 residents in California.[1]

Website evaluation

The good

  • Meeting schedules, agendas, minutes and videos are posted online.[2]
  • City council members are listed with term expiration dates, contact information, and an email address.[3]
  • Administrative officials are listed with contact information.
  • Budgets are posted.[4]
  • Audits are posted.[5]
  • Building permit applicaitons are available.[6]

The bad

  • No information is available on Taxpayer-funded lobbying.
  • City contracts are not posted.
  • No information is posted on how to obtain public records. The website says that "the Public Information Officer is designated to work with and inform the local, regional, and national media with information surrounding the emergency event. This role is part of the emergency operations command structure."[7]
  • Only partial zoning information is provided.[8]

Bankruptcy

Main article: Bankruptcy option for local governments

The city filed for bankruptcy on July 3, 2011[9] after the city council voted unanimously to do so.[10] The town declared bankruptcy after being ordered to pay a $43 million judgment in a developer's breach-of-contract lawsuit against the city. The original award was for $30 million but the final judgment was $43 million due to interest and legal fees.[10] The judgment represents 250% of the town's annual general fund budget.[11] The creditor, Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition, "repeatedly refused" mediation on the judgment, according to the city.[11] Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition LLC accused the municipality of reneging on an agreement giving it the rights to build a hotel and condominiums near Mammoth Yosemite Airport.

Mammoth Lakes' annual general-fund budget totals only $19 million.[12] The town's U.S. Bankruptcy Court filing states that, at the time of the filing, it had between $100 million and $500 million in assets and $50 million and $100 million in liabilities.[11]

The day after filing for Chapter 9 protection in a federal bankruptcy court in Sacramento, Mammoth Lakes went ahead with its annual Fourth of July fireworks show at a cost to the town of $25,000.[13]

The Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing can be found here.

Budget

The town projected a $2.8 million budget shortfall for its 2012-13 fiscal year.[11]

It relies on hotel taxes for 61 percent of its general-fund revenue.[13] The area is the third most-visited ski area in the country, and below-average snowfall in the winter of 2011-12 and a tighter economy depressed visits to the resort, lowering projected hotel taxes.[13]

External links

References