Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hailey Rodeo Grounds is economic folly

Kudos again to Tony Evans and his "plot thickens" stories. They really touched a nerve as you might have noticed. I had no idea when I approached Mayor Rick Davis early on in the bond campaign and told him the numbers couldn't possibly work out, (He answered "That's why we have an endowment" as in a statement of fact), that he didn't even know the name of the person making the endowment. Seeing the vote might go the other way, this unknown person to not only the mayor, but unknown to the whole Hailey City Council, enticed us all with an increase in the endowment just prior to the election. The thermometer at the rodeo grounds, in plain sight to all, jumped from showing little support to major support overnight. Interesting timing.

My point: Even if the endowment is ever received, it will run out and there is still no creditable business plan for the ice skate park a year later to dispute the assertion by the national association that building another ice rink will be an economic calamity. Let's revisit this. Nor has a business plan for the two other businesses, the rodeo grounds and visitor center, been created after a year. Each will create an ongoing maintenance expense to (only) Hailey property owners if built. How will these generate revenue to offset their cost to Hailey property owners? Right now, each is an economic black hole to (only) Hailey property owners.

Every Business 101 teacher in history is rolling in their graves at this folly. But that isn't all. Go to and look at the financials. Click on the "Four Year Revenue Analysis." Just look at the difference between expected and actual revenue in just property taxes and LOT revenues alone. Bombs away! As your property value goes down, so will the money available to pay off the bond and to pay for other city expenses.

I never did find where the endowment came onto Hailey's books as it did the thermometer at the rodeo grounds. Hailey is in trouble, and we need new ideas and people who are adaptable to current events and have some horse sense. Geoffrey Moore and Peter Lobb already work on behalf of Hailey and have no conflicts of interests. I hope you'll give them your votes and make a fresh start for Hailey.

Mark Cook


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