Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hailey tweaks air-service LOT

Council calls for fiscal oversight

Passengers check in for a Horizon Air flight at Friedman Memorial Airport. Photo by Mountain Express

The Hailey City Council expressed unanimous support Monday for Fly Sun Valley Alliance's proposed five-year, 1 percent increase to valley local-option taxes to support air service to the Wood River Valley.

Council members were divided on whether the additional tax should apply only to lodging and rental cars or whether it should also apply to bars and restaurants.

The council will discuss this issue again Aug. 20, and also is expected to decide then whether to put the issue on the November ballot.

The proposed tax increase would gather an additional 1 percent of LOT revenue from Hailey, Sun Valley and Ketchum for retaining, improving and developing commercial air service at Hailey's Friedman Memorial Airport.

Carol Waller, executive director of Fly Sun Valley Alliance, said at a Hailey City Council meeting Monday that if ballot measures pass in participating cities in November, the new funding will be used to pay for minimum-revenue guarantees and marketing efforts.

Minimum-revenue guarantees are subsidies paid to commercial airlines to guarantee existing air service routes and develop possible routes.

Waller said an undetermined percentage of the funding would be used to market the area.

"I would like to see almost all of the funding go to minimum-revenue guarantees," said Hailey Mayor Fritz Haemmerle, who described the many marketing groups in Ketchum and Sun Valley as a "pig's breakfast" of groups spending money in a disorganized fashion.

"I am concerned that the political force behind this [LOT increase] is the real estate community that wants to sell more second homes to absentee owners," said Haemmerle.

"That would be undesirable for us," he said.

Hailey Community Development Director Micah Austin said the expected LOT increase from Hailey, estimated at $160,000 to $190,000 per year, would be a "good deal" for the city's economic development.

The council voted to remove Blaine County from a joint-powers agreement that would oversee spending of the new tax funding, since Blaine County has no LOT and would not provide funding.

The council also voted to include a fiscal oversight mechanism in the document, and extend joint powers board memberships from one year to two years.

Carol Brown expressed concern that Hailey residents and business owners might not support the ballot initiative in November if the tax increased the cost of local dining.

The Aug. 20 meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.