Friday, June 7, 2013

City changing course?

     A shaft of sunlight has penetrated the clouds that have hung over Sun Valley City Hall for too long.

     Led by Mayor DeWayne Briscoe, the city brought other local leaders together and forged a new agreement to fund emergency dispatch services.

     Acting Sun Valley Police Chief and former Blaine County Sheriff Walt Femling helped craft and negotiate the agreement on a subject he knows well.

     Although this sounds like business as usual, matters surrounding dispatch had been far from peaceful for some time.

     Since 2008, when voters defeated a tax increase to fund dispatch, the cities of Sun Valley, Hailey and Bellevue had carped and complained about a funding formula that determined how much each was required to pay for communications dispatch for police, fire and medical emergency services. All had complained—vehemently and loudly—that they were paying too much.

     Sun Valley, under former Mayor Wayne Willich’s bully gavel, withheld funding for a time. All three cities had threatened to abandon the Blaine County Communications Center and join Southern Idaho Regional Communications Center in the wake of nasty feuds over funding formulas for a system paid for by the cities, including Ketchum, the county and surcharges on telephone service.

     Sun Valley and Hailey approved the new agreement first, soon followed by Bellevue and Blaine County.

     For Sun Valley, the agreement could mark a change in course for a city whose politics have been characterized by pettiness and punitive actions. Teamwork will serve the public far better than perpetuating the internecine battles of yesterday.

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