Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wake up, Ketchum!

The Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency is supposed to facilitate development within the urban renewal district and is supposed to reinvest tax revenue it receives towards redevelopment in that area.

When the URA was established in 2006, Ketchum transferred $1.5 million from in-lieu housing that was to be used for community housing to the URA, and yet to date no community housing has been provided. Also, the URA has borrowed $5.56 million on three separate loans, all of which have balloon payments due in three years or less.

The URA receives about $450,000 annually from property taxes and pays about $255,000 per year interest on the three loans.

Since 2007, rather than using the remaining revenues the URA received for community housing or to pay down the $5.56 million in debt, the URA has instead been transferring the excess revenues to Ketchum to cover salaries and other miscellaneous expenses. Because the members of the Ketchum City Council are also the members of the URA (under Idaho law they don't need to be and probably shouldn't be), it makes it easy for this kind of financial shenanigan to take place.

This is just another example of Ketchum's constant failure to use funds it receives for legitimate and proper purposes and to instead use creative accounting to finance its mismanagement.

On Sept. 8 at 5 p.m. at Ketchum City Hall, both Ketchum and the URA are holding their one-and-only public hearing on how they are spending your money. Please attend and ask Mayor Hall and his cohorts why they are not providing the community housing they should be providing and why these funds are being used improperly.

Hope to see you there.

Phyllis Shafran


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