Wilson: ‘It was just
time to get out’
Outgoing SV mayor ‘honored’ to serve
By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer
Outgoing Sun Valley Mayor David Wilson
said last week that he considers it a "great honor" to have served in city
government for 14 years but has no regrets about deciding to relinquish his
"It was just time to do something else,"
Wilson said in an interview Friday, Jan. 9. "There’s only so much time to spend
with your family. It was just time to get out."
Wilson, who announced in September that he
would not seek election to a second term as Sun Valley mayor, will be replaced
Jan. 15 by Mayor-elect Jon Thorson, a retired physician who resides in Elkhorn.
Wilson said his decision to leave office
was "reaffirmed" in November, when longtime friend James Woodyard perished in a
tragic plane crash near Bellevue.
Wilson was appointed to the Sun Valley
City Council in 1990, before being elected mayor in 1999. In reflecting on his
years of service as a Planning and Zoning commissioner, member of the City
Council, City Council president and mayor, Wilson said he believes Sun Valley
government has made significant gains.
"Ten years ago we didn’t even have a
computer in City Hall," he said. "The government of Sun Valley has really come a
long way. It’s in good financial shape. It’s in good physical shape."
Wilson said he believes one of the most
important accomplishments of his administration was the responsible management
of the city’s finances.
The mayor said the city—which has an
approximate population of only 1,450—boasts a cash reserve of $1.5 million,
despite declining revenues from local option taxes the last two fiscal years.
The city has predicted it will bring in
approximately $1,120,500 in LOT revenues during the 2003-2004 fiscal year.
"We would have enough cash to operate if
the LOT dropped to $500,000 one year," Wilson said.
At the same time, Wilson said, the city
has pursued an aggressive capital improvement program, mainly to improve city
roadways and infrastructure.
The mayor said he is proud to have brought
forth and nurtured a plan to use the city’s five-acre open space parcel along
Sun Valley Road for public events.
Some citizen’s—including Thorson—have
criticized Wilson in the last two years for his onetime interest in developing
the parcel with a new $20 million arts center.
However, the mayor said, he believes the
discussions he presided over about the parcel’s potential uses brought about an
appropriate plan to use the site as a venue for concerts, plays and other
"The end result was good," he said.
"Through the process, I think we came out with a great solution."
Wilson said he has only one outstanding
disappointment with being the city’s chief administrator for the last four
years: the pace at which city government operates.
"The way government moves, it’s like
steering a big ship. You may move the rudder 30 times and it could take four
hours to turn."
Wilson said he believes the new mayor and
the City Council face several challenges. First and foremost, the new mayor and
the council are faced with negotiating the approval of a forthcoming master plan
of properties owned by Sun Valley Co.
Maintaining open space along Sun Valley
Road and protecting the quaint ambience of Sun Valley must be balanced with
allowing the resort company to make improvements to stay competitive with other
Rocky Mountain destinations, Wilson said.
A second major issue facing the city is
the ongoing review of two development applications that stand to completely
change the composition of Elkhorn Village, Wilson said.
"City officials have a responsibility to
do that in a way that’s an asset and not a liability," he said.
Wilson, the owner of Ketchum-based Wilson
Construction, said he will continue to operate his business. In addition, he
will remain active as the vice president of the National Association of Home
Builders, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association with 215,000 members.