Friday, March 23, 2007

Ketchum seeks to quantify businesses

Licenses would help maintain database

Express Staff Writer

The city of Ketchum wants to keep better track of businesses operating inside its city limits.

The City Council on Monday, March 19, considered new $25 business licenses that would be used to maintain a database of local businesses, as well as ensure compliance with zoning, water and sewer regulations.

It would be illegal for a business to operate without a business license.

"It's important to monitor what's going on in the community," said Sun Valley Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Carol Waller. "I'd say about a third of those businesses are home-based businesses, whether they're a painter or a home builder. We'll be able to get a real good sense of, 'What are the aspects of the local economy?'"

City officials stressed Monday that their point is to gather data about the 1,500-odd Ketchum-based businesses, not to enforce regulations or to make money. However, 1,500 businesses multiplied by $25 equals $37,500.

What's more, Councilman Ron Parsons pointed out that if the business licenses become too onerous, many businesses may not participate, and that would miss the point.

"I just think you might have a lot of non-compliance," Parsons said. "If the emphasis is to gather data, I just don't think we're going to get as good of data if we're scaring people."

Concerns were also raised among Ketchum staff members about the time and energy it would require to gather and enter data.

"I think the processing of 1,500 business licenses is going to be a strain, I think, on many departments," said Ketchum Planning Director Harold Moniz.

City Administrator Ron LeBlanc said obtaining licenses from all businesses may be a challenge.

"In the end, you'll probably have to knock on the door for those remaining," he said. "The fire chief and the building official don't see this as punitive, unless there's something that's absolutely critical in terms of making (a business) a death trap or a fire hazard. They may say you need more fire extinguishers or exit signs ... I think the bigger issue is handicap accessibility."

Councilwoman Terry Tracy agreed with the importance.

"Getting this information's vital," she said. "If we don't address this now, we're not getting back to it for a millenium."

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2024 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.