Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WREP: Vote ‘no’ on council-manager plan


The Wood River Economic Partnership believes that the Nov. 8 Ketchum ballot question proposing a change to a "council-manager" plan of government and the required vote on five City Council positions at one time has extremely serious implications for the future economic vitality and business environment of our entire community. We want to emphasize just three reasons why:

1. It's no secret that our local economy has suffered significantly since the downturn in our national economy. Over the past four years, our City Council has worked diligently on implementing a multifaceted plan for economic development in an effort to revive our economy. It's critical that our existing council and staff have the opportunity to carry forward their vision. The possibility of a complete change in our elected leadership and the loss of continuity and stability is a chance we just can't afford on the road to economic recovery.


2. Hotel development is the most critical component for a near-term economic recovery in the valley. The estimated value of the four approved hotel projects when completed is over $1 billion and will bring in new visitors, support existing businesses and add additional marketing dollars. It also creates jobs and tax revenues. Hotel developers continue to seek sources of capital to fund their projects. Potential sources of capital demand a stable political environment and the knowledge that local government is a willing partner in getting these projects built. The possibility of an all-new City Council could undermine the confidence of sources of capital to invest in our community.

3. Supporters of the change insist that a council-manager form of government will depoliticize Ketchum politics. In fact, there are no panaceas in either form of government. You will have disagreement and controversy in both systems. You will have politics and personality conflicts. Our current system allows the voters ample opportunity to put forth candidates who support their views in regular election cycles.

After extensive study, WREP sees no compelling reason to change and no reason to risk flunking the "stability test" for our economic development future. This community cannot afford to roll the dice on an all-new council in the debatable hope that efficiency and professionalism are increased.

The Wood River Economic Partnership is a nonprofit organization that works to promote economic development in Blaine County.

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