Friday, September 28, 2012

The island

The city of Sun Valley seems to want to make itself an island. The majority of its City Council seems to be digging a moat and pulling up the drawbridge.

The City Council dug the moat deeper this week when three out of four members announced that they would boycott a joint meeting with the Ketchum City Council to hear a report from the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance. The cities fund the alliance with proceeds from local sales taxes.

In August, with no prior notice, the Sun Valley Council slashed its funding for the alliance by 30 percent and has reduced funding by 38 percent since it partnered with Ketchum to form the alliance more than two years ago.

The cuts and boycott are part of an ongoing pattern in which the Sun Valley council’s majority is isolating the city from other local government entities and nonprofits. Why? Because of a perception that other groups are trying to fleece it and take unfair advantage.

The majority has been critical, sometimes harshly so, of organizations that the city has partnered with, including Mountain Rides, Blaine County Housing Authority, Ketchum Parks and Recreation, Fly Sun Valley Alliance and Blaine County’s dispatch services.

It may be time Sun Valley’s majority gets what it apparently wants: to be left alone on its island. It could end marketing support and slash services. It would have to explain the moves only to its biggest taxpayer and marketing beneficiary, Sun Valley Co., as well as to homeowners whose property values depend on the health of the tourist industry and the services the city provides.

The majority may discover that island living isn’t easy, cheap, convenient or peaceful, even after they’ve kicked the irritating outsiders off the island.

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