MAMMOTH LAKES HOUSING, INC.
Board of Directors Meeting
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Special meeting at 6:00 p.m.
COUNCIL CHAMBER, 437 OLD MAMMOTH ROAD
MINARET VILLAGE SHOPPING CENTER, SUITE Z
I. Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 6:10 PM.
II. Roll Call
Members present: Kirk Stapp, Bill Taylor, John Wentworth, Jiselle Kenny (arrived at 6:15)
Members absent: Lindsay Barksdale, Larry Johnston
Staff present: Jennifer Halferty, Executive Director; Patricia Robertson, Grant & Financial Associate
III. Public Comments
There were no comments from the public.
IV. Approval of minutes from May 1, 2017 Regular Board meeting
Bill Taylor made a motion to approve the minutes. Kirk Stapp seconded the motion. The motion passed 3-0.
V. Approval of minutes from June 5, 2017 Regular Board meeting
The Board agreed to push the approval of the June 5, 2017 meeting to the July meeting since there was not a quorum.
VI. Town of Mammoth Lakes allocation of political commitments
John Wentworth introduced the item and stated that the Town Council did not get to fully address this item at their June 7th meeting due to time constraints. He noted that the primary intention of the item was to bring the funding that was cut during the 2012-2013 MLLA settlement process back to housing. He passed out a handout with the items to be presented to Town Council at their June 21st workshop on this item.
Bill Taylor commended the work done by the subcommittee on this item and their support for recommitting the funding to housing. He noted that he had two main concerns:
1. Reserves: he mentioned his concern with the operational reserve limit, that the cap seemed like a somewhat arbitrary number. He noted that different organizations have different needs in terms of reserves. He noted that by allowing the Town to maintain the excess dollar amount in a Capital Reserve, it could potentially encourage or discourage the NGO partner due to the unknown availability of the funding which will make it difficult to successfully do long-term planning for local’s housing in the community.
2. Capacity and Role: his second concern was related to the fact that historically MLH has been the housing development arm of the Town. What impacts does this new structure have on MLH’s capacity to deliver on that mission?
John Wentworth thought that these were legitimate concerns that need to be resolved moving forward, probably during the contract negotiations. He noted that the current Community Housing Action Plan process would inform much of how the Capital Reserve of housing funds held by the Town would be spent and what the deliverables in the contract might look like. He stressed that MLH and the Town have to work together to leverage capacity and resources to deliver housing to the community.
Lou Margulies made a public comment stating that she appreciated the commitment to the subject of funding housing. She observed that it appeared to be a chicken or the egg situation that dictated the allocation of funds. She noted that the enhanced vision that the community has for the future needs both tourism/marketing and housing. She said that the town does not have the staff to fulfill the enhanced vision and that currently, housing is paramount to be successful. She thought that a recalibration of the formula of how the funds are allocated might be necessary.
John Wentworth confirmed that MLH is guaranteed the current commitment of approximately $330,000 and that the difference between the 1 point of 1% (817,308 – 330,190 = 487,118) would be held in a Capital Reserve at the Town. MLH would then need to ask the Town Council to use it on specific projects or program areas. He stated that the strategies outlined in the Community Housing Action Plan would dictate how the money would be allocated to housing projects/programs.
Bill Taylor reiterated the issues associated with the Town maintaining the difference in funding. First, it adds one more step to the process if MLH is in property negotiations. If MLH needs to take it to Town Council to request the funds, it removes the item from closed session and deprives MLH of the immediacy and flexibility needed to successfully complete real estate transactions. Secondly, the staff report is vague and notes that “partners” may have access to the funds. If MLH cannot depend on the funds being available, it hamstrings the NGO’s ability to do effective long range planning and ongoing service delivery. He noted that the same was true for other organizations such as the trails; building up a capital reserve for construction purposes is critical. Lastly, the Town does have oversight of what MLH does including: a Town councilmember on the Board of Directors, public meetings, an annual financial audit, and the Town ultimately controls the funding that comes to MLH.
Bill Taylor reiterated a quote from Colin Powell on effective leadership: If you are going to be an effective leader, delegate and provide resources. If you do not provide the resources, then don’t delegate.
John Wentworth confirmed that the housing Capital Reserve fund would not be utilized without a serious consultation with MLH and after the final Community Housing Action Plan is released.
Jiselle Kenny noted that the NGO partners are mission driven and that regardless of where the politicians of the day might stand, they continue to provide the services that they were created to provide. MLH helps create housing opportunities for locals– that is the mission. By holding the Capital Reserve at the Town it is not allowing MLH to effectively complete its mission and could potentially be seen as an injustice to the community. She suggested that the reserve policy be addressed for each NGO partner separately and not on a sweeping basis.
John Wentworth stressed that it was a disservice to the public to allow NGO partners to hold unspecified amounts of public money and that MLH and the Town need to work together and identify mutually shared goals and objectives.
Jennifer Halferty noted that historically the Town and MLH have worked very closely together to create the locals housing that we have today. Additionally, the funding of MLH is much like how the State of California funds its Housing & Community Development Department (HCD); the State allocates funding for the department to pursue policy that promotes the housing goals of the State.
Patricia Robertson asked why if the intent of the policy was to minimize the impact on each entity, was MLH being treated differently than the other NGO partners with a lower guaranteed allocation amount, which perpetuates the hardship that MLH has endured since the MLLA settlement that has limited the NGO’s ability to deliver housing solutions to the community?
John Wentworth confirmed that the amount guaranteed to MLH is based on the current operating budget of the organization, and that the other organizations are guaranteed a base allocation reflecting their current operating budgets.
Kirk Stapp asked a question regarding how the Town and MLH would address requests for funding from the housing Capital Reserve. For example, what if MMSA requests public money to build tiny homes and MLH, as the housing department and local experts, does not believe that it is the best use of the funds. How do the Town and MLH reconcile this?
John Wentworth reaffirmed that the use of the funds will be based on the priorities and strategies outlined in the Community Housing Action Plan.
Marc Margulies made a public comment that he thought the total 1 point of 1% should be made available to MLH. He stated that MLH helped his daughter secure housing in town, and that in order to create more successes like this that MLH needs access to the funding.
John Wentworth concluded by saying that this would be an interim situation and is not some effort to assert authority over MLH, but to get more money for housing.
VII. Adjourn: The meeting was adjourned at 8:04 PM.