After serving for 13 years on the Hailey City Council, 83-year-old Don Keirn is running for re-election this fall. Keirn has held his position as a council member since 2001, and this will be his fourth campaign for City Council.
Having served for 10 years as the economic and growth management director in Boise from 1987 to 1997, Keirn said that his experience in that position has shaped his perspective toward working for the city of Hailey. He said in an interview that his Boise background has led him to support initiatives such as the development-impact-fee ordinance. That law enabled the city to charge fees to new developments in order to handle the increased demands on the its services.
“It really allows growth to pay for itself, by making development more attractive to the governing body, knowing that the fee will offset the cost,” he said.
During his time on the council, a local-option tax was approved, which Keirn labeled as “minimal impact.” Through a percentage tax on liquor, restaurant food, rental cars and hotel rooms, the action has brought in roughly $300,000 per year to the city.
“I try to do what the people of Hailey want and expect.”
Keirn also takes pride in the implementation of the city’s Urban Renewal Agency, in an effort to apply tax-increment financing to infrastructure costs.
“This will make it more attractive to businesses to move into the area,” Keirn said. “It’s a very involved procedure, but this will continue to be a big priority for me. Our capital improvement fund is very low, and with this we can do some improvements that we can’t afford to do otherwise.”
Looking forward to the possibility of another term, Keirn named his first priority as promoting the bond initiative to finance and construct a new biosolids facility.
“Should I be here or not, this needs to be done,” he said. “The City Council can determine a need, but it’s up to the people to decide. We need to educate the people.”
He also expressed a hope that in the future more of the public will attend City Council meetings and make themselves heard.
Keirn said his experience as a public official in Boise and over the last 13 years is an asset to the City Council.
“It’s a sales job, too,” he said. “If someone comes in wanting to move their business here, we try to promote the good things about Hailey.”
If re-elected, Keirn wants to continue to push the issue of finding a new location for the airport, as well as make the necessary decisions to improve Hailey’s air service. “The 1 percent LOT initiative is coming up, and with that money in hand I think we would be able to attract a Denver flight,” he said. “That way we can connect to Texas and Chicago and other Eastern destinations.”
Along with working toward a new master water plan for the city, Keirn feels there are several critical issues that he would like to address in the future.
“I try to do what the people of Hailey want and expect,” he said. “I love this city. I want to see it prosper, but maintain its small-town atmosphere.”