Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hailey leaders eschew regional planning

City declines to join countywide council

Express Staff Writer

Hailey Mayor Susan McBryant demonstrated this week her intentions to keep an outside body from influencing the decision-making process within her city.

At a City Council meeting Monday, June 25, McBryant read a letter she subsequently sent to the Blaine County Board of Commissioners, stating that Hailey is declining an invitation to participate as a member of the newly formed Blaine Regional Leadership Council.

"We are not prepared to enter into a leadership council with by-laws and rules that by necessity position one member of the municipality's elected government to vote on actions that will affect Hailey," McBryant said.

She continued to say that the city would like to attend the council's meetings, but as an audience member rather than an active participant. In this way, Hailey would still be able to provide input as the regional council discusses actions that could impact the Wood River Valley's largest city.

Councilwoman Carol Brown agreed with McBryant's decision, but anticipated that the letter would not be well received.

"This requires a whole secondary level of government that we're not comfortable with," Brown said. "Just be prepared for an uproar."

Brown also said that Hailey will need to discuss issues that affect the entire county, such as transportation, areas of city impact and wellhead protection.

While McBryant said she doesn't want to relinquish the authority of the City Council, Hailey will reconsider joining the regional council at a later date.

"We applaud this effort and commit to revisiting our level of participation when we can more ably evaluate the merits of active membership in a formalized leadership council," McBryant wrote in her letter.

McBryant has reiterated a number of times that her priority is not with regional planning, but rather with issues that directly face Hailey.

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