Collaboration often can bring results to otherwise unachievable goals, but sometimes it can bring about its own set of challenges.
The Sun Valley Marketing Alliance presented a quarterly update to a joint meeting of the Sun Valley and Ketchum city councils on Oct. 17. The cities had formed the alliance and gave $400,000 each last year to get it going.
This fiscal year, Sun Valley is chipping in $356,000, while Ketchum is contributing $456,000.
During last week's meeting, some members of the Ketchum council questioned Sun Valley's financial commitment to the partnership.
During a meeting on Oct. 20, the Sun Valley City Council gave a recap of the joint session to Councilwoman Joan Lamb, who was not in attendance.
"If I was in the military, I'd call it a dressing down," said Councilman Dewayne Briscoe. "They felt we had so-called reneged on a promise that we made for $400,000. They felt that commitment was made in good faith and should be honored."
Councilman Bob Youngman said he was "disgusted" by the tone of the joint meeting.
"It was totally disrespectful of our deliberative process," he said. "We went through our budgeting process. This is what we decided on. One can have their opinion, but if they want to have control over our deliberative process, they can move here and get elected."
Proposals, compromises and other funding needs made Sun Valley's marketing alliance contribution fluctuate greatly during this summer's budget process. The base number of $350,000 was established in a 2-2 vote, with Mayor Wayne Willich breaking the tie.
"All five people up here didn't get all they wanted," Willich said.
Councilman Nils Ribi agreed that figure was determined after much deliberation.
"We're trying to put an entire budget together," he said. "It was a complete process where there was a lot of discussion. It wasn't just that we just said, 'Ah, to hell with them, we're going to put in $350[,000]."
Youngman reiterated his view that Ketchum's local-option tax should be increased.
"It's all part and parcel of the fact that the business community in Ketchum is not contributing their fair share," he said. "If you want to look for more funds, that's where you should be looking."
Part of the problem, Briscoe said, is that councils cannot make multi-year commitments for funding. In addition, two Sun Valley council seats and the mayoral seat are up for election next month.
"The new council may decide no funding at all," he said.
Briscoe repeated an idea made last week by Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall that the cities work out a formula to determine if equal contributions are fair.
"Now that they've mentioned it, let's figure out what we think our fair share is," he said.
In an email statement, Ketchum Councilman Larry Helzel defended his questioning at last week's meeting.
"As Ketchum City Council is the responsible fiscal agent for our taxpayers, we certainly owe them a full explanation behind our budgetary decisions and how these decisions were impacted by the city of Sun Valley budget," he said. "I felt that the joint city council forum with [the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance] was the opportune time for city of Sun Valley to explain their process."
He said differences are coming to light and may warrant a re-examination of the partnership's definition.
"Ketchum would approach a revised partnership structure which features some metric formula governing the level of public sector contributions to [the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance], so long as both parties agreed to an absolute minimum of annual contribution.
"Although we realize that there are key fundamental and philosophical differences between the two cities, Ketchum believes that these differences can be honored while negotiating a new lasting partnership framework for marketing."
Rebecca Meany: firstname.lastname@example.org