Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Quigley Canyon analysis leads to community survey

Previous survey led to rodeo arena and Woodside Boulevard projects


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

Analysis of a proposed development in Quigley Canyon, above, has prompted Hailey city officials to develop a new community survey of priorities for public service. Photo by Mountain Express

In light of a proposed 440-home development in Quigley Canyon, the city of Hailey is preparing a community survey to prioritize projects within the city's long-term capital improvement plan.

The survey will be distributed to Hailey residents in January. It will include a survey of preferred funding mechanism for the improvements, including tax increases.

"The results of the survey will help inform the budget prioritization decisions to be made by the council," wrote Community Development Director Beth Robrahn in a memo to the City Council and mayor.

The city recently authorized a contract with consultant Kaplan Associates to measure the potential fiscal impacts of developer Dave Hennessy's proposed housing development in Quigley Canyon, east of the city. Hennessy is paying for the fiscal-impact analysis, but it will be up to the city to decide how any development-impact fees associated with the development are spent.

The City Council reviewed Monday a draft of the community survey, which seeks to gather opinions from Hailey residents on what capital projects and city services they would like to see improved first. The survey categories range from parks and trails, library and police services to improvements to streets and the downtown core.

Robrahn wrote that capital improvement projects routinely require additional funding sources, such as annexation fees, or special taxing districts. Local-option taxes are used to supplement spending on some services.

The City Council voted to amend the survey questions to include possible funding mechanisms for the desired improvements.

"We have a street improvement problem. How are we going to pay for it?" said Councilman Fritz Haemmerle, mayor-elect of the city.

Following a planned redevelopment of Woodside Boulevard next summer, the city's capital improvement fund would be reduced to $500,000, not enough to pay for repairing deteriorating streets in Hailey, said Public Works Director Tom Hellen.

"We have generally good roads in Hailey, but Broadford Road is falling apart," Hellen said. "Roads in northeast Woodside are also falling apart. There is a point where you are spending money [on maintenance] for something that is not going to last very long. The city needs $15 million to do all we would like to do."

The community survey will seek answers from Hailey residents on how to fund those expenses.

Results from a similar survey distributed in 2009 led city leaders to prioritize rebuilding of the rodeo grounds and resulted in the reconstruction of Woodside Boulevard.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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