home to roost
The housing chickens have come home
to roost in Ketchum.
City officials say recruiting employees is
difficult because of the mismatch between wages and local housing costs.
Thatís no surprise.
The city faces the same problem local businesses
face each time they recruit.
Yet, Ketchum Mayor Ed Simon tried to duck the
larger issue last week when he moved to gut funding for the Blaine County
Housing Authority. He wanted to spend the savings to create housing strictly for
Had the City Council gone along, businessesóthe
ones who generate the revenues and collect the taxes that make up half the
cityís budgetówould have been left to swing in the wind with no relief and no
resources in sight.
The mayorís call to provide housing for public
employees is on target, but the target is too small.
The city needs good employees and those employees
need housing. Otherwise, streets donít get plowed, fires arenít suppressed,
criminals arenít apprehended, water doesnít flow, waste doesnít get treated,
buses donít run, and development isnít planned.
Yet, for the city to buy itself out of the problem
while letting the people who cook the food, wash the dishes and sell the gear
swing in the wind would have been grossly unfair.
The city has done nothing but make excuses about
why it cannot create attainable housing within the city. Yet, when it comes to
housing its own employees, the way and the means suddenly appear?
The City Council did the right thing by killing the
proposal. Now itís time for city leaders to find a more equitable solution.