Basolo says he will leave Hailey council
Will complete current term
By TRAVIS PURSER
Express Staff Writer
After serving on the Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission for two
years and the Hailey City Council for two yearsterms marked by his dissenting voice,
which often left him the odd man outCouncilman Scott Basolo announced last week he
will not seek reelection this November.
In a letter addressed to Mayor Brad Siemer and the citizens of Hailey,
Basolo emphasized that he is not resigning from his current position and that he plans to
complete his term of office, which ends Jan. 1.
"I am making this decision for personal reasons," Basolo
wrote in a one-page letter. "In my life the priorities which I seek to serve are in
order, God, my family and my job which supports my family. I have found the current
position of councilman is conflicting with these goals."
Basolo, 38, a structural engineering consultant, has distinguished
himself in officeand possibly earned the enmity of Siemer and othersby
breaking ranks with the Hailey City Council on such issues as land management and the city
On Aug. 9, Basolo was the only council member to opposed Siemers
budget for fiscal year 1999-2000. The budget eliminated the $55,000-per-year city
administrator position and created a new $44,000-per-year facilities and maintenance
director position to take its place.
Basolo said he agreed with everything in the budget, except for the
creation of the new position, which he said could "jeopardize the function of the
city administration core."
Basolo also said it would be difficult to find someone with the
expertise needed to fill the multifaceted position.
On July 28, less than two weeks before voting on the Hailey budget,
Basolo appeared before the Bellevue City Council to encourage Bellevues opposition
to Siemers and the Hailey City Councils plan to annex and rezone 152 acres of
land between the two cities.
Basolo managed to rally enough opposition to cause the Blaine County
Planning and Zoning Commission to reject the proposed annexation and rezoning.
For almost a year, Basolo has been deeply involved in an evolving
transfer of a development rights (TDR) bill in the state legislature. The measure would
allow local governments to establish programs through which the owners of agricultural
land could sell development rights of their property to builders in other areas, rather
than subdivide and build themselves.
The hoped-for result would be the preservation of farmland and open
space, while compensating the landowners who participate in the program.
Basolo has emphasized the importance of preserving the community
character as a whole. He says the human characteristics of the south county create the
character of the entire Wood River Valleythe warm and friendly attitude that make
Hailey, Bellevue and Ketchum such special places to live.
Given the mayors response to Basolos resignation, its
not hard to imagine that Basolo could be frustrated with his frequent battles as a public
Basolo said in an interview that Siemers response to
Basolos decision not to seek reelection was, "Too hot in the kitchen for
Basolo said the mayor was only joking, but when asked if its
true, Basolo said, "There will be a lot of people who think that, I suppose. But
its not because there has been rejection, or that Ive been the odd man out.
Proof of that will be my continuing involvement."
Siemer could not be reached for comment.
Basolo, who has a two-year-old and a three-year-old boy, said that he
spends a great deal of time being a good public stewardso much so that he frequently
must put his duties as councilman ahead of his duties toward his family. He finds it to be
too great a conflict and one that he must remedy.
"I would spend the same amount of time even without the current
issues," Basolo said. "Its a very demanding job."
After he leaves office, Basolo intends to continue his efforts to
implement transfer of development rights legislation at the city and county level.
In particular, his efforts on the citizens advisory board for the
TDR issue will focus on a section of the TDR bill, which is heavily weighted against
cities being able to mandate any kind of TDR system. Basolo hopes to make it easier for
cities to mandate.
Also, he said, he will continue to be involved in county-wide
Basolo admits that after he leaves the city council, his involvement
will not have the same effect.
It begs the question of whether hell ever run for office again.
"Certainly not for a few years," he said, "but Ill