Sun Valley budget prompts debate
Councilman Renick says document is
heavy with ‘pork’
By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer
The presentation of the 2004-2005 fiscal
year budget in Sun Valley has prompted a series of discussions about how the
city should allocate its approximately $3 million general fund.
In a three-hour discussion Thursday, June
17, Sun Valley City Council members measured a laundry list of proposed
expenses, including a request for $330,000 from the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber &
At issue are city expenditures for the
fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1, 2004, and ends on Sept. 30, 2005.
Sun Valley City Administrator Jan Wellman
issued a balanced draft budget last Thursday that calls for the city to spend
approximately $3,156,000 through its general fund.
"It’s balanced, but just barely," Wellman
The current 2003-2004 fiscal year budget
is slated to allocate approximately $3,011,000 through the city’s general fund.
The 2004-2005 proposed budget includes a 3
percent cost-of-living pay increase for city employees.
The proposed budget also calls for
allocating $20,000 to the Peak Bus commuter service and $325,000 to fund the
Ketchum Area Rapid Transit bus network.
The budget also includes a plan to borrow
a sum between $1.2 million and $1.7 million to rebuild and resurface Fairway
Road, northeast of City Hall. The borrowing plan was endorsed in concept by the
council in a 4-0 vote Thursday.
Councilman Lud Renick said he would like
to keep borrowing to a minimum by cutting unnecessary expenditures from the
He objected specifically to one proposal
from the Police Department that requested funding for a drug-sniffing dog
program. The funding was ultimately omitted from the draft budget.
"I think we’ve got a lot of pork in this
budget," Renick said.
Council members indicated they might be
willing to cut some proposed expenditures, including one set reserved for
remodeling the City Council meeting room.
Council members will continue to review
the draft budget at their next meeting July 15.
However, Wellman will not be available to
usher the budget through the approval process this summer. In a move that
surprised many outside of City Hall, Wellman last Friday agreed with Mayor Jon
Thorson to step down from his post, apparently because of differences in how the
two men view the city administrator’s role.