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For the week of June 11 - 17, 2003


Hailey council cracks new budget after weekend party

Express Staff Writer

The Hailey City Council was on high ebb Monday as it tackled current business after a full weekend of community activities.

Before diving into regular business and the first discussions of the new budget proposal for the 2003-2004 fiscal year, Mayor Susan McBryant had congratulatory words for everyone who helped make Saturday’s skate park dedication, airport appreciation day and the free fishing day activities a success. She also commended the police for their response to the alleged threats made by two teenagers at Wood River High School just before graduation.

The first agenda item to pass Monday was a fireworks permit that clears the air for the annual Independence Day display. As specified by the fire chief, the launch site is 1,000 feet from the nearest structure, and traffic will be deliberately controlled. Some public concern was heard about the impact of the celebration on farm animals in the Deerfield neighborhood.

An amendment was made to the city’s banner ordinance making it necessary for all applicants wishing to fly a banner over the highway to adhere to a "first come, first serve" schedule and to affix specific dates that advertise community events.

The ordinance says that banners should not say, "support the Wood River Wolverines" but "support the Wood River Wolverines on this date," McBryant said by way of example.

McBryant added that the ordinance was particularly important because there are new banners flying nearly every week as Hailey city clerk Heather Dawson confirmed.

Somewhat begrudgingly, an extension was granted to Thomas Development for the completion of the Balmoral community housing project in Woodside.

Specific concerns were raised about the fact that the project was not yet finished but more importantly city staff and council members wanted to address the surface quality of the Balmoral Park soccer field.

The council commanded developer Tom Mannschreck to carryout an eight-step improvement process to ensure the high quality of the field.

Under the terms of the extension, the council also reminded the developer that the planned unit development requires a regular maintenance schedule and demanded a biweekly progress report until the revised completion date of Aug. 31. The council promised "draconian" measures would be taken if the project fails to meet terms of the new deadline.

A new park permit fee was instated for organized seasonal events that expect to turn a profit. That includes "not-for-profit" organizations that are running fundraising events.

The fee fills a loophole, said Parks and Land board member Steve Keefer.

"There was nothing that addressed these types of users," he said. "Issuing the fee is a way to know who is doing what and who is in charge."

The new fee will be $100 per year to reserve park time. The money will help contribute to maintenance of public park space that is seeing ever-increasing use.

At the end of the meeting the mayor presented her 2003-2004 budget proposal to the council. Council members will have until the public hearing scheduled for Aug. 11 to prepare questions and recommend changes to the budget. Public comment on the budget can be heard as soon as the council ratifies a sum that the budget shall not exceed.

As proposed the total city budget will be an increase of 19 percent or $7.3 million.

The city is going into the next budget year without carryover, said McBryant. "But, the budget is tight."

One of the main goals of the budget will be to increase and facilitate support staff, said McBryant.

There are six new positions recommended citywide in the budget to accommodate the workload brought on by growth in the city. One position that still needs to be filled is for a new city administrator. The new position has been published with an salary range of $70,000 to $86,000 per year.


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