Friday, July 8, 2011

They ask, but will they receive?

Organizations seek funding from Ketchum


By REBECCA MEANY
Express Staff Writer

Two fledgling organizations went calling to the Ketchum City Council this week, making the case that money given will eventually turn into money received.

Fly Sun Valley Alliance and the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance made presentations to the council Tuesday, asking for fiscal 2012 funds. Like many groups in the valley, they are competing for scarce resources allocated for cities' external contracts as municipalities put together budgets for the coming fiscal year.

Fly Sun Valley is a nonprofit group whose mission is to support and improve air and ground access to the valley from key markets. The group also raises money to contribute to minimum revenue guarantees. The group is seeking $35,000 from Ketchum.

Alliance President Eric Seder said the request represents a good news-bad news scenario.

This spring, the alliance relaunched its discount card, which offers deals at local businesses and the new benefit of exclusive flight deals between Friedman Memorial Airport and Los Angeles and Seattle.

"That's all going very well," he said.

Among challenges facing the group are a high minimum-revenue guarantee payment expected this fall, finding sustainable funding sources and luring additional carriers to the airport. Seder also noted there will be a decrease in seat capacity later this year when SkyWest changes its schedule.

The Sun Valley Marketing Alliance revised its planned request recently because the Sun Valley City Council last month indicated it would provide less support than asked for, and less than it gave last year.

For fiscal 2012, the group requested $475,000 from Ketchum. That request does not include Sun Valley Chamber of Commerce activities because city funds do not support the chamber's activities. Ketchum allocated $400,000 to the alliance for fiscal 2011, from local-option tax funds.

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The categories of labor and paid media are higher in this request than last year's, but outside services have decreased because some tasks have been brought in-house, said Candice Pate, interim leader of the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance.

Alliance board President Jake Peters said the group initially planned to ask for $450,000 but raised the request because funding from Sun Valley will likely drop.

"[Last year] these two cities stepped up ... and said marketing needs to be supercharged," Peters said. "To at this moment shrink a budget is just the wrong thing to do. I think anyone in the business will tell you it's the wrong thing to do."

Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall agreed, saying funding should be at least at last year's level.

"It's very important we keep the wheels on the track and keep moving forward," he said. "It doesn't make any sense to back off on funding now."

The alliance has met goals in several areas, Peters said, including hiring a new chief marketing officer, bringing new events to town and raising awareness of the Sun Valley-Ketchum area. He pointed to a travel article in Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle that noted the area's summertime activities.

"Now we just have got to regurgitate that in a thousand blogs," he said.

Partnership with Sun Valley Co. also has been enhanced, especially in the social media arena, Pate said.

"It's a true collaboration," she said. "It's constant communication."

"We feel really good about what's happened thus far," she added.

Councilman Curtis Kemp expressed appreciation to Sun Valley Co. Marketing Director Jack Sibbach, who was in attendance representing the company.

"This is a huge effort," Kemp said. "We're very thankful for your involvement."

A public hearing on a proposed budget will be held in September.

Rebecca Meany: rmeany@mtexpress.com

Sun Valley area gains exposure

Thousands of pairs of eyes got a glimpse of Ketchum-Sun Valley under the summer sun. "Sun Valley, Idaho, summer rush," published in the Sunday, July 3, edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, highlights the Wood River Valley's lesser-known activities of fishing and mountain biking. The flattering article encourages readers to get to know the valley's warmer-weather offerings. "As any ski bum knows, Sun Valley, Idaho, is one of North America's premier ski destinations and a true winter wonderland. Its summer attractions, though, are many and often overlooked," wrote author Larry Habegger. Read more at: www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/07/01/TRVH1K1S8K.DTL




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