Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Ketchum bypasses proposal process to hire consultant

Express Staff Writer

Citing the pressure of the six-month moratorium deadline to stimulate the downtown core, the Ketchum City Council Tuesday voted to hire a consultant without going through the typical request-for-proposal process.

"The process will take another month or more and I don't think we have the time," said Ketchum Planning Director Harold Moniz. "I've chosen a consultant who will give us the best bang for our buck."

Tom Hudson, of Moscow-based The Hudson Company, will work in conjunction with Ketchum city staff, the mayor, the council and the public to establish objectives for the commercial core and find ways to reach them.

The council approved a fee of no more than $53,000 for his services.

Mayoral hopeful Maurice Charlat disagreed with the council's decision to bypass the RFP process in securing a downtown master plan consultant.

"Since you've taken the steps to buy some time (with the moratorium), it seems you should get some competitive (bids)," he said. "I think you're going to miss an opportunity to do something even better."

Mayor Ed Simon said time was of the essence.

"We're looking to get the overall process moving," he said. "Harold Moniz has confidence that (Hudson) is able to do the job. We're dealing with this with the same sense of urgency as the moratorium."

Hudson will moderate a joint Planning and Zoning Commission/City Council meeting scheduled for Oct. 26.

He will lead a public meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 27 at the nexStage Theatre, on Main Street.

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