Friday, October 1, 2010

Ketchum URA expects $152 million in revenue

Proposed plan outlines spending for URA’s remaining 25 years


By TREVON MILLIARD
Express Staff Writer

Spending $14 million to build a parking structure at River Run, $500,000 to develop a new city park on land donated by Sun Valley Resort, and $20 million to construct 37 deed-restricted community-housing units and 35 market-rate units—these are just a few of the larger projects proposed in the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency's future.

The URA's proposed plan calls for a total of $58.9 million to be spent for public improvements—also including street and sidewalk improvements to encourage private development—over the term of its remaining 25-year life. And this money wouldn't come from raising taxes or a voter-approved bond.

It would all come directly from development expected with Ketchum's URA, mainly Sun Valley Resort's River Run base village, which was annexed into the URA on Sept. 16, and two planned hotels, Warm Springs Ranch Resort and Bald Mountain Lodge.

The URA's revenue comes from increases in property tax rolls that occur through new development or inflation. Property tax rates aren't increased. But as the value of land increases for properties inside a URA due to development, the corresponding increase in a property's tax is given to the URA to make improvements to the area. And development is expected to bring in $152 million to the URA throughout its lifetime. That amounts to $139.8 million for projects after deducting the debt-service payments the URA will make for existing bonds. And the plan calls for using only half of this revenue, meaning $93.1 million would be left over for other projects down the road.

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However, none of that money is guaranteed unless development occurs as planned. And none of the URA projects will be given the go-ahead until the money's in hand.

Some of the plan's projects are taken from the city's capital-improvements plan, which is legally permitted even though the city is a separate entity. As long as the project is within the URA or directly affects it, the project can be included in the URA's plan. Such is the case for a new $3.6 million City Hall, half of which would be funded by the URA. The other half, $1.8 million, would require a voter-approved bond, if the project is pursued.

Each URA-funded project is given a set time for when it would be taken on, based on development expected to bring in the funding. If development is late, projects would be pushed back until the URA has the money.

This is the first time since the URA's creation in 2006 that its plan has been updated. The rewrite came because 138 acres was annexed into the city and URA at the River Run base of Bald Mountain. Before the plan can be amended, the Planning and Zoning Commission must confirm that it adheres to the city's overall plans, mainly the comprehensive plan and downtown master plan.

The P&Z took its first look at the URA plan at a Sept. 27 meeting but cut the discussion short because of the crowd waiting to discuss a proposed new supermarket. The discussion will be continued on Monday, Oct. 11. If the P&Z approves the plan, the City Council will then look at the projects in detail. It will be the first time the city hears input to determine whether members of the community agree with the projects and their priorities.

Trevon Milliard: tmilliard@mtexpress.com




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