Financial Capital in Mammoth Lakes, CA

Financial Capital Blog– Mammoth Lakes, CA

Financial capital is all the resources available to invest in community capacity building, to underwrite business development, to support civic and social entrepreneurship, and to accumulate wealth for future community development (Green and Haines, 2016). The undeniable truth behind the financial capital in Mammoth Lakes is that most of it is accumulated wealth coming from Mammoth Mountain and the tourism it attracts. Now while this does bring revenue for the mountain that trickles down throughout the town, many full time residents in the area are struggling to get by and provide a comfortable life for their family.

With a civilian labor force of 7,322, approximately 12% are unemployed. (U.S. Census Bureau , 2014). As well, the town would seem quite prosperous that the median household income is $63,011 (U.S. Census Bureau , 2014) however, this number is quite an overstatement when you realize that during peak winter weekends the population can exceed 35,000 due to part time homeowners and visiting families attracted to the mountain (Town of Mammoth Lakes, 2008). As well out of 12,329 housing units available, 8,097 are vacant due to the fact that the median value of a home is $387,300 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2014). The shift in higher home prices came from the purchase of Mammoth Mountain by Intrawest Resort Holdings in the 1990’s which encouraged a much more upscale clientele (Fox, 2016 ). This forced much of the workforce out of the community and as a result, out of the vacant housing units available in Mammoth Lakes (8,097) there are 5,890 categorized as seasonal, recreational and occasional use (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010).

In 2012 the Town of Mammoth Lakes lost a $43 million lawsuit for breach-of-contract judgement to their largest developer Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition which required full payment by June 30th, 2012 (Sahagun, 2012). After much mitigation the Town of Mammoth Lakes and MMLA were able to agree on a $29.5 million debt paid over 29 years. This, resulted in a 60% cut in the former budget allotted to Mammoth Lakes Housing Inc., a group mandated by Mammoth Town Council. “The Mammoth Lakes Housing Board of Directors requests in its statement that the Town Council ‘cap the taking from housing at the current level of $482,000 until the Council can implement revenue generating sources to pay the MLLA settlement.’” (Kessler, 2012). In the past MLH has worked closely with the Mammoth Town Council to build or renovate apartments for 84 families and currently has a waiting list of 32 town residents who need less expensive, better quality housing conditions. Mammoth has received $12.2 million in grants to build or rehab rental units as well as $25 million in affordable housing bonds and tax credits which MLH has used in the past to provide homebuyer assistance loans of $3.7 million to 57 households. (Kessler, 2012). MLH’s board of directors also works comprehensively with the Town of Mammoth lakes to ensure that these budget cuts won’t affect their work in the future as indicated by a meeting held in June, 2016 where reserve funds and stakeholder meetings to discuss workforce housing needs in Mammoth were agreed upon based on information of transfer taxes in Aspen Colorado, another mountain town in need of affordable housing. (Mammoth Lakes Housing Inc., 2016).


screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-3-54-39-pm  screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-3-55-23-pm

Works Cited

Fox, K. (2016 , May 13). Housing Crisis, Housing Solutions. Retrieved November 9 , 2016 , from Moonshine Ink:

Green, G. P., & Haines, A. (n.d.). Asset Building and Community Development. Los Angeles, California: SAGE.

Kessler, B. (2012, November 7). Mammoth housing board asks to hold the line. Retrieved November 9, 2016, from Sierra Wave Media:

Mammoth Lakes Housing Inc. (2016, June 22). Board of Directors Meeting Minutes. Retrieved November 9 , 2016 , from Mammoth Lakes Housing:

Sahagun, L. (2012, July 2). Mammoth Lakes Files for Bankruptcy over $43 Million Judgement. Retrieved November 9, 2016 , from Los Angeles Times :

Town of Mammoth Lakes. (2008, June 30). Annual Financial Report. Retrieved November 9, 2016, from Mammoth Lakes California:

U.S. Census Bureau . (2014). Selected Economic Characteristics. Retrieved November 9, 2016, from American Fact Finder:

U.S. Census Bureau. (2010). General Housing Characteristics. Retrieved November 9 , 2016, from American Fact Finder:

U.S. Census Bureau. (2014). Selected Housing Characteristics. Retrieved November 9, 2016, from American Fact Finder: