Friday, September 7, 2012

Ketchum adopts $13.5M budget

County due date almost missed

Express Staff Writer

The Ketchum City Council adopted a $13.5 million fiscal 2013 budget in the nick of time Tuesday evening despite an 11th-hour hesitation.

The adopted budget was due at the Blaine County Assessor’s Office on Wednesday. A momentary derailment was initiated by Councilwoman Nina Jonas when she suggested some amendments to the budget at about 8 p.m. Tuesday.

“We need to come up with $75,000 for the [recreation and public purposes patent],” Jonas said.

The money had been requested by the Parks and Recreation Department to begin creation of a whitewater park on the Big Wood River using BLM land near Hulen Meadows subdivision.

“I’d wanted to lower our commitment to the Fly Sun Valley Alliance from $40,000 to $25,000,” Jonas said in an interview Wednesday. “I also wanted to lower our commitment to the Ketchum Community Development Corp., which was always meant to stand on its own eventually. This would have given us the $75,000 we need for the [recreation and public purposes patent].”

After Jonas suggested those amendments, Mayor Randy Hall said the city was already working on a way to come up with the $75,000. Hall said City Administrator Gary Marks and Community and Economic Development Director Lisa Horowitz would soon make a presentation to the council suggesting the best way to do so. Until then, $75,000 would be taken from the contingency fund so the project could get underway.

“Does knowing that the $75,000 will come out of the contingency fund ease your desire to massage the numbers?” Hall asked Jonas.

“I still think the Fly Sun Valley Alliance is getting too much, given how many private donations they are going to receive,” she responded. “I also think the Ketchum Community Development Corp. should stand on its own. We should lower its funding yearly until that’s the case.”

Councilman Baird Gourlay suggested adopting the fiscal 2013 budget, then discussing any amendments during an upcoming council retreat.

Marks agreed, saying if the budget were amended Tuesday, he would have to reprint multiple copies of it that night before turning it in to the county Assessor’s Office the next day. Marks suggested avoiding that simply to save the city some money.

“It would have cost about $1,500 to reprint the budget,” Marks said in an interview Wednesday. “It’s a 267-page color document.”

At the meeting Tuesday, Jonas asked what would happen if the council did not adopt the budget that night.

“You won’t be able to spend any money this year,” City Clerk Sandy Cady said.

Marks added, “And you won’t be able to collect property tax. Folks, it’s really important you pass the budget tonight.”

Marks told council members that if they wanted to approach the process “differently” next year, that would be fine, but it was too late to delay any longer this year.

Gourlay then made a motion to adopt the budget. Jonas seconded the motion with the caveat that she’s “looking forward to an upcoming conversation on amending the adopted budget.”

The council then voted unanimously to adopt the budget.

“The fiscal 2013 budget is a strong document,” Hall said. “Gary is the right man for the job [of city administrator]. It’s been a pleasure working with Gary.”

Brennan Rego:


City appropriates $280k more for 2012

The Ketchum City Council voted Tuesday to amend the fiscal 2012 budget to include $280,000 more in appropriations.

“This is a housecleaning thing before the end of the fiscal year,” said City Administrator Gary Marks in an interview Wednesday.

The fiscal year ends Sept. 31. Before then, the city needs to authorize any additional spending for fiscal 2012. The $280,000 appropriated at the end of the fiscal year will be used to pay for expenditures that could not be predicted when the fiscal 2012 budget was adopted last fall.

These expenditures include unforeseen repairs to the Fire Department’s roof, for which $25,000 was appropriated to the Fire and Rescue Fund and $25,000 was appropriated to the Ambulance Services Fund.

“We found asbestos in the Fire Department’s roof,” Marks said. “That increased the repair cost substantially. It probably won’t cost $50,000, but appropriating that much means we will be authorized to spend up to that much if necessary.”

Additional appropriations include $130,000 for the Community Housing In-Lieu Fund.

“In fiscal 2011, Ketchum gave ARCH $130,000 to buy a unit to convert into community housing,” Marks said. “ARCH did so, sold the unit and paid the city back. They wanted to do that again this year, but we didn’t know this at the time we adopted the fiscal 2012 budget.”

Lastly, $100,000 was appropriated for a new Trust Fund.

“The Trust Fund did not exist when the fiscal 2012 budget was adopted last year,” Marks said. “It’s a separate fund for private donations so donors know the money they give will go where they want it to instead of just getting lumped into the General Fund.”

The Trust Fund has money in it from donations, but before the fiscal 2012 budget was amended on Tuesday, the city was not authorized to spend any of that cash.


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