Friday, July 24, 2009

SV Mayor shifts the bucks for nonprofits

Proposal would take cash from chamber, send it to Sustain Blaine

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley Mayor Wayne Willich said that at the July 30 special City Council budget meeting he will ask the council to shift funds around that would leave some nonprofit groups with less cash than requested and others with more.

While relatively minor amounts in comparison to the city's overall $6.14 million preliminary budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year, the funds for external "contracts for service" have to be viewed more scrupulously than ever because of the economy, Willich said.

Potential shifts include taking $30,000 from the $330,000 requested by the Sun Valley/Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau, which would go to help fund Sustain Blaine's "Go Blaine" economic development plan, which could possibly be implemented this fall.

In addition, Willich is looking to direct $50,000 from the $380,000 budgeted for public transit service to airline minimum-revenue guarantees. The remainder would go to Mountain Rides Transportation Authority. Willich said that after contributing $530,000 to Mountain Rides last year, which included the funding of two new buses, he didn't think this would be an issue.

Another budget item that Willich does not think will be an issue this year is a contract with the Wood River Community YMCA. Last year saw a highly contested request for $75,000 that Willich opposed, but was eventually approved by the council. This year, Willich said that he has yet to receive a request from the YMCA.

Willich said that there are so many worthwhile nonprofit groups in the valley that it would be impossible, especially given declining revenues, to give to all of them.

"My take is, if you have a favorite charity, get your checkbook out. Do not expect the city to pay for everything," he said.

Jon Duval:

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