For the week of April 21, 1999  thru April 27, 1999  

The state of Hailey is good

Mayor Siemer gives annual presentation

Express Staff Writer

Tax Day found Hailey Mayor Brad Siemer in a potentially precarious situation. Siemer was standing in front of the public delivering the annual state of the city address.

"I did wonder what they had in mind putting me up here in front of a bunch of taxpayers on April 15," Siemer said of his noon address from the stage of the regal Liberty Theater.

Siemer, delivering his second state of the city address, summarized his vision for Hailey as "a community that is socially and economically diverse and one that nurtures its intergenerational abilities."

Building a strong downtown retail core, preserving historic neighborhoods, and making Hailey a comfortable place to live for seniors as well as youth were among the goals Siemer outlined.

"We have to look at our community as a family and turn our whole community into our household," Siemer said. "That’s the key to preserving a family community."

That preservation could be challenging given the fiscal constraints facing the city.

"Projected revenues are not increasing, so spending will not be increasing," Siemer said.

The city will be working with the state Legislature to develop ways to retain more local tax dollars in Hailey.

Money talk, once again, brought wastewater trickling into the mayor’s address.

"The Hailey mayor always gets to talk about wastewater," Siemer quipped.

The administration building of the new wastewater treatment facility in Woodside is 90 percent complete. The facility will be treating effluent by November and should be totally complete before the end of the year, Siemer said.

Completion of the plant means Hailey will be able to grow again after years of restraint brought about by lack of treatment capacity.

Keeping that growth in check, another hot topic in the largest city in Blaine County, may be facilitated by "intra-Hailey" transfers of development rights, according to Siemer.

"Property owners will be able to transfer development rights to receiving zones," Siemer said of the program. "This is modeled after recent legislation passed by the state."

Such transfers help retain open spaces in key areas of the city and high-density development grouped in other target areas.

On the subject of open space, Siemer praised Hailey planning and zoning commissioner Becki Keefer and developer Chuck Grubb for their leadership roles in getting recreational areas in the Woodside subdivision.

No state of the city address would be complete without some mention of Y2K issues.

"Some people think it will be the end of life as we know it," Siemer said. "It’s either going to be a big yawn or a complete disaster. I think it’s going to be somewhere in between."

The city of Hailey is addressing what it does have control over, such as oil and water storage and computer upgrades, according to Siemer.

"We’ve taken initial steps for what we can prepare for," Siemer said.

The city will have access to military generators that will, if necessary, supply power to the senior center, the Hailey city shop, and to the fire department hall.

Another, more immediate concern of Hailey residents is the airport.

Prior to Siemer’s address, Friedman Memorial Airport manager Rick Baird took the opportunity to report on the state of the airport.

The airport, it seems, will be taking center stage this summer when construction projects begin.

The first significant construction projects related to implementation of the airport master plan begin May 10, when the runway will be shifted 300 feet to the south.

Baird estimated that 7,500 truck loads of fill dirt destined for the project will find their way to the airport this summer.

"It’s going to be a busy Highway 75," Baird said.


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