Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hailey blacksmith running for council

Two legislative seats up for election in November


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

Hailey metalworker Bob Wiederrick announced at a City Council meeting March 14 that he will run for one of two council seats that will be open in November.

The two open seats will be those now held by council members Carol Brown and Fritz Haemmerle. Brown said she will run to keep her seat. If she wins, it will be her third two-year term. The Idaho Mountain Express was unable to reach Haemmerle for comment on his plans.

Wiederrick is a metalworker with a shop in the Woodside light-industrial area. In 2008, he gathered enough signatures on a petition to require the city to hold a referendum on the repeal of both business license fees and development impact fees.

Both measures failed, but Wiederrick has since challenged what he says are arbitrary practices in the city's collection of business license fees.

The city charges businesses $125 for licenses plus annual charges of $50 per year thereafter. Wiederrick claims the annual fee is a "business tax" and should be abolished.

Wiederrick reported what he called "inconsistencies" in business fee collections to the City Council in March 2010, based on a public-records request he conducted. Mayor Rick Davis took the report and said he would look into the matter.

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"I only went from A to B in the phone book, from architects and attorneys to bed and breakfasts and bookkeepers, and found 14 inconsistencies," Wiederrick said in an interview at the time.

Mayor Rick Davis said in an interview last Wednesday that he has looked into Wiederrick's allegations.

"He was erroneous on almost all of them," Davis said.

Afterwards, Wiederrick said, "I do not think that was the case."

At the City Council meeting March 15, Wiederrick accused City Clerk Mary Cone of not charging her architect husband for a business license fee, calling the matter a "malfeasance of office."

"Hailey needs to be more open to businesses and be the type of government that serves the people, not dominate them," he said in an interview.

Wiederrick served as platoon leader in 1985 in the U.S. Army Reserves, was promoted to first lieutenant and then was transferred to the Idaho National Guard. After 10 years he resigned his commission with a rank of captain to focus on his artist/blacksmith work.

Wiederrick graduated from Idaho State University in 1987 with a bachelor of fine arts degree.

"The big accomplishment is that I have managed to do something with my degree," he said in an interview. "There are a lot of fine arts majors that are not working as artists."

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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