Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ketchum bond election gets go-ahead

Express Staff Writer

Paperwork is beginning to be processed in preparation for a city of Ketchum bond election in November to pay for heavy equipment.

Ketchum officials determined Monday that a bond vote to replace four pieces of major equipment is the least expensive way to go.

They unanimously passed an ordinance approving a $1.5 million bond to pay for two snow blowers dating from 1957 and 1985, a 1988 grader and a 1985 loader, plus related costs.

"The reason we're going to bond is that it's the cheapest money available to a city," said City Administrator Ron LeBlanc. For the million-plus figure, "you'd want to have the voters comment on it."

The current City Council has pledged that the city would borrow money from itself rather than raise taxes. A future council could alter that commitment.

Cities usually buy major equipment through lease-purchase agreements, but those arrangements were determined by the Idaho Supreme Court this summer to be illegal.

In the decision, City of Boise v. David Frazier, the court said municipalities cannot go into debt without voter approval, unless the purchase is both ordinary and necessary.

The general obligation bond would have to be approved by two-thirds of voters.

Election Day is Nov. 7.

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