Friday, November 19, 2010

Ketchum approves $59M URA plan

List calls for parking garage, park

Express Staff Writer

The Ketchum City Council decided Monday on its updated plan for the Urban Renewal Agency, outlining $59 million to be spent on projects between now and 2035, when the URA will be dissolved. That seems like a great deal of money but represents only a third of the URA's expected $152 million in revenue.

Projects include using $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.

The 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 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.

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.

Overall, the plan calls for a total of 41 projects needing $74.4 million. About $59 million of that will come from URA revenue to be spent for public improvements—including street and sidewalk improvements to encourage private development. Some of the projects would be funded in part by other sources, such as local-option taxes, in-lieu housing fees and impact fees paid by developers, and bonds.

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.

Trevon Milliard:

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