Friday, August 24, 2012

Council overrides mayor’s veto

Sun Valley budget ordinance passed 3-1

Express Staff Writer

    The Sun Valley City Council approved the third and final public reading of its $5,438,500 fiscal 2013 tentative budget on Tuesday. To pass the ordinance, the council needed to override a veto by Mayor Dewayne Briscoe.
    In an interview, Briscoe cited lack of transparency and hasty decision-making as reasons for his veto.
    “During the course of the budget discussions, which have been taking place since the spring, it was assumed that the budget should be pretty firmly set by the third hearing,” Briscoe said. “During the second hearing [on Aug. 16], council President Bob Youngman proposed several significant amendments to the budget.”
    Briscoe said the most significant of those amendments—approved by the council on Aug. 16—affect the health benefits of Sun Valley employees, the city’s funding commitment to the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance and its funding commitment to Mountain Rides Transportation Authority.
    “Council President Youngman should have given more notice to the public, the council, the city of Ketchum, the Marketing Alliance, Mountain Rides and me,” Briscoe said. “Youngman’s action to amend the budget was legal, but not transparent at all.”
    However, Councilman Nils Ribi said at the third public budget hearing Tuesday that, out of the seven budgets he’s helped set, this year’s process has been “one of the most transparent.”
    “This has probably been one of the most productive budget processes that I’ve been through with public comment,” Ribi said. “The productive public comment has been incredible. It’s been very helpful and I personally have appreciated it because it’s helped us create a much better budget.”
    Briscoe said he disagrees that the public process had been good in this case.
    “I felt blindsided,” he said. “The decision was rushed to get the budget done. I would have preferred another meeting to continue discussions. The decisions were made in haste.”

Brennan Rego:

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