Friday, May 7, 2010

Ketchum nearly $1 million richer

Unexpected funds will cover unforeseen expenses

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum has received about $961,000 "over and beyond" what was expected for fiscal 2010, allowing it to cover some unforeseen expenses.

City Administrator Gary Marks told the City Council on Monday that the money came from four sources: $547,000 from housing complex Northwood Place's property lease, $242,000 from hotel development fees, $132,000 from developers to offset the city's review-processing expenses and $40,000 from an energy-efficiency grant.

This is good news for the city, which can now use some of the money to offset costs that were unanticipated when it planned its budget last spring, such as the $64,500 emergency generator Ketchum installed this week. The generator was bought following a blackout last Christmas that left the entire valley without power for more than a day in below-freezing temperatures.

The nearly $1 million will also be used to fill a $130,000 shortfall in local-option tax collections. Marks said the city predicted a 5 percent drop for city businesses this year compared to 2008-09, but has been hit with a 13 percent drop.

The city collects a 2 percent tax on lodging and by-the-glass liquor sales, and a 1 percent tax on retail sales and building materials.

About a quarter of the unexpected revenue, or $262,500, will be placed in the city's general fund.

The City Council approved the following use of the funds:

· $160,000 to the Ketchum Community Development Corp. to help finance the town square currently under construction.

· $57,000 for other CDC projects.

· $18,000 to cover the Parks Department's expense of maintaining the new town square.

· $25,000 to expand public information dissemination.

· $24,500 to offset the cost of the new bicycle "pump" park on Second Street.

· $46,000 for a 2.5 percent cost-of-living increase for city employees. The council did not extend this raise to themselves or the mayor.

· $64,500 for the emergency generator.

Marks outlined two other expenses—the development-review process and grant-funded energy-efficiency project—that will also use the unexpected revenue. The amount the projects brought in, $172,000, is the same amount that will be allocated for them.

The council unanimously approved all these uses of the money, though Councilwoman Nina Jonas was out of the country and not present for the meeting.

Trevon Milliard:

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