franchise nears completion
Meeting today to
work out details
Express Staff Writer
on a promise to attempt hammering out franchise agreements with
electricity and cable television utilities, Ketchum Mayor David Hutchinson
announced Monday night the city is on the verge of sealing a deal with
electricity utility Idaho Power Co.
been without an electricity franchise agreement with Idaho Power since
Sept. 1, 1997.
believe we have a meeting of the minds on all the substantive issues,
which is a celebration for those of us who have been doing this for a
while," Hutchinson said.
franchise agreement is expected to be released to the public at a meeting
at Ketchum City Hall at noon today, Dec. 5. The draft agreement was not
available Tuesday, because Idaho Power attorneys were still reviewing the
document, Hutchinson said.
agreement enables a city to charge citizens a franchise fee, and gives a
utility the authority to work on city properties without asking permission
every time a transformer or wire needs replacing.
city’s previous, 50-year franchise agreement, the city did not charge a
franchise fee. State law, however, allows cities to charge a 1 percent
fee, but voters can approve a fee up to 3 percent.
the council has talked about is dedicating the franchise fee to burying
power lines," Ketchum City Administrator Jim Jaquet said.
One of the
formidable stumbling blocks toward reaching a mutually acceptable
agreement the past five years has been the city’s desire to bury the
power lines stringing its streets. But negotiations stalled several times
on disagreements over which group would bear the brunt of the cost.
offered a nutshell overview of the draft agreement. It will allow the city
to bid for contractors and will require that Idaho Power perform work at
actual, not-for-profit costs.
should significantly reduce the cost of burying," he said. "We
think we’ve got it wired."
campaign for mayor in October, Hutchinson was criticized for his
"90-day plan," which prioritized tasks that could be begun or
completed before the new year, the end of the mayor’s term. Achieving
franchise agreements with Idaho Power and Cox Communications topped the
been some communication with Cox, and prior to the end of the year, we
should have laid out a framework in which we’ve finalized that ordinance
as well," he said.
of open space was another item in the mayor’s "90-day plan,"
and Hutchinson said contacts have been made or efforts moving ahead to
work on preserving or acquiring the Warm Springs Gold Course, the J.R.
Simplot-owned lots in West Ketchum and the Wells Fargo bank property,
across from Atkinsons’ Market.
City Council Dec. 17 will consider a resolution in support of the proposed
Town Center affordable housing and office project, which could contribute
15 to 20 affordable housing units on the corner of Main and Fourth
resolution is needed in order to apply for financing assistance by a Feb.
15 deadline, Ketchum and Blaine County Housing Director Gates Kellett told
the council at a meeting Monday night.
commented on the project urged the council to support the project.
most important part of this project is to get housing units," Sun
Valley-Ketchum Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carol Waller said.
"It’s a constant struggle in our community to get people who live
here and work here. It’s a step in the right direction."
see any problem with mixed use anywhere in Ketchum," said Patricia
Busch, a Ketchum citizen. "I think we should encourage it."
members appeared anxious to consider the resolution.
is a perfect example of what we’re looking for," Councilman Peter
Ripsom said. "We should move ahead as quickly as possible."