Bold move, bad
was a case of bad timing, but it looked a lot more like a case in which
Blaine County Commission Chair Mary Ann Mix tried to undermine the work of
the Blaine County Housing Authority.
Mix attempted to replace Housing Authority Chair David Kipping.
years of service, Kipping is a stalwart volunteer who has labored long and
hard to create mid-level housing affordable for working residents. He’s
remained optimistic in the face of enormous hurdles and led support for
housing in the controversial proposal for the Town Center office and
housing development on Ketchum’s Main Street.
term expired in February, and he asked to be re-appointed.
Mix moved to appoint a wet-behind-the-ears newcomer to the issue. She said
her nominee, the chief administrator of the county’s nursing home, would
shift the focus of the authority toward housing for senior citizens.
senior citizens is fine and dandy¾except for one niggling detail. The
Blaine County Housing Authority was created to find ways to provide
housing for all residents¾not just seniors.
wish to change the authority’s focus was misguided, not to mention
totally out of line with the city of Ketchum, the partner that helps fund
bold move was an attempt to hand off the hot potato of the high cost of
nursing home subsidies, it flopped on that count, too.
was dismissive of the fact that the high cost of housing relative to
median incomes is one of the biggest problems facing businesses,
government and families in the Wood River Valley.
last 10 years, businesses and government have found it increasingly
difficult to find and retain employees because of the high cost of
Housing Needs Assessment found that the valley needed 581 units of
housing. The need has only increased in the five years since the study was
Sarah Michael and Dennis Wright voted to stop the benighted attempt to
derail the housing authority. Mix, perhaps miffed, declined to vote on the
issue and offered no explanation.
aftermath, Ketchum should rethink a move to disband its own Housing
Advisory Committee. It should clearly define its interest in paying part
of the salary of the Housing Authority administrator and providing office
afford to be left high and dry if the Housing Authority gets railroaded by
county officials that don’t understand the many facets of the housing
the county will suffer if the move to sweep housing problems under the rug