Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Ketchum residents pass $1.5m equipment bond

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum officials got the green light from voters Tuesday to enact a bond to upgrade city equipment.

Voters cast 988 ballots in favor of the measure and 251 against it. Another 45 ballots were not cast.

The $1.5 million bond will pay to replace two snow blowers dating from 1957 and 1985, a 1988 grader and a 1985 loader, plus related costs.

City officials determined that a bond would be the cheapest way to pay for major equipment following an Idaho Supreme Court decision last summer that ruled out lease-purchase agreements under most circumstances.

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.

Ketchum City Attorney Ben Worst interprets that to mean lease-purchase agreements are no longer a viable method of securing equipment.

Typically, a bond vote allows a city to raise taxes.

The current City Council has said that the city would borrow money from its own debt services account rather than raise taxes. A future council could, however, alter that pledge because a sitting council cannot bind a future one.

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

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