Friday, August 24, 2012

City won’t restore marketing funding

Sun Valley cuts $100K from contribution

Express Staff Writer

    The Sun Valley Marketing Alliance might have to tighten its belt this year.
    Last Thursday, the City Council voted to cut funding for the Ketchum-Sun Valley area’s primary marketing organization by $100,000 in fiscal year 2013. The council revisited the issue during its third and final public budget hearing on Tuesday, but did not reverse its prior decision to cut the funding.
    Sun Valley is now proposing to give $250,000 to the Marketing Alliance in fiscal 2013, down from the $400,000 originally provided in fiscal 2011, the first year of operation for the organization.
    Sun Valley’s decision will slash the Marketing Alliance’s proposed fiscal 2013 budget—listed at $1,093,600 before the cut—by just over 9 percent.
    “It’s unfortunate,” said Marketing Alliance board President Jake Peters in an interview Thursday. “Nine percent of the funding has a greater effect than that on the operational effectiveness of the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance.”
    The cities of Sun Valley and Ketchum fund the Marketing Alliance to promote the Sun Valley area outside of Blaine County and to run the visitor center. Ketchum officials have said the Marketing Alliance has done effective work and are considering increasing the city’s commitment to the organization this year.
    Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall wrote the following in an email to Sun Valley Mayor Dewayne Briscoe after a Ketchum City Council meeting Monday:
    “The city of Ketchum would consider increasing its commitment to SVMA for FY ’13 [from $450,000] to $475,000 (plus an additional $6,000 for rent) if the following occurs; a) the city of Sun Valley maintains its funding commitment for this fiscal year to SVMA at $350,000 (plus an additional $6,000 for rent) and b) we have a joint council meeting to discuss, in detail, the commitments that each city has made to each other on a variety of matters.”
    Sun Valley’s decision to cut funding was made after City Council President Bob Youngman proposed a budget amendment during the second public budget hearing Aug. 16 to lower funding for the Marketing Alliance by $100,000 in order to provide more money for the city’s Street and Path Fund. Neither the public, the other council members, the mayor nor the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance was informed of Youngman’s proposal before the meeting.
    Sun Valley Councilman Nils Ribi cited the Marketing Alliance’s “overhead costs” and “employee salaries” as reasons for concern.
    The Marketing Alliance maintains that its overhead costs are low.
    “Total overhead is at 18 percent,” the organization’s director of finance, Linda Horn, said at the third budget hearing Tuesday.
    However, the Sun Valley City Council would not be swayed. Councilwoman Michelle Griffith, who voted against the budget cut last Thursday, made a motion during the meeting Tuesday to reappropriate the $100,000 to the Marketing Alliance. The motion died for lack of a second.
    “I’ve worked hard so far in my administration to restore good working relations with Ketchum, Hailey, the county commissioners and the airport commissioners,” Briscoe said in an interview. “I would hope the dispute over marketing does not disturb our cooperative efforts with Ketchum pertaining to our police departments and fire departments.”


Mountain Rides funding cut
The Sun Valley City Council voted Thursday, Aug. 16, to reduce Mountain Rides Transportation Authority funding by $25,000. The city now proposes to give the bus organization $250,000 for fiscal 2013. Mountain Rides requested a funding level of $300,000. “We’d be forced at a $250,000 funding level to cut service,” Mountain Rides Business Manager Wendy Crosby said at a council meeting Tuesday. “We’d be looking at significant changes to the red route, which is the Elkhorn route.”

Brennan Rego:

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