Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Not-so-fine whine


    In 2010 the city of Sun Valley partnered with the city of Ketchum to create the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance and promised to fund it to the tune of $400,000 annually if Ketchum did the same.
    Ketchum kept its promise. The city of Sun Valley didn’t.
    This year, the city has earmarked just $250,000 for the alliance and even that amount has come under assault in council discussions. Sun Valley’s mayor and council say the city’s reluctance to pay more is Ketchum’s fault because the two cities haven’t hammered out a deal on joint ownership of a new ladder truck for the fire departments and because the city needs money to re-pave roads and paths.
    In 2011, just 2.75 percent of city voters defeated a $14 million bond issue for street repair and that’s left today’s leaders scrambling. Yet, the mayor and council are compounding the problem by refusing to take a budget cost-of-living adjustment of up to 3 percent. The city hasn’t taken the tax increase for several years, which was laudable given the poor state of the economy. However, even public budgets must eventually regain the buying power that erodes each year with small rates of inflation.
    Sun Valley leaders have several options at their disposal, including showing residents some “tough love” by not fixing streets until the need is so apparent that a minority wouldn’t think of defeating a bond issue for repair, putting egos aside and meeting jointly with the Ketchum City Council to meet their mutual needs, taking the allowable 3 percent budget increase, and keeping its original promise to pay for marketing in an effort to keep its local-option tax revenues up and the city’s coffers full enough to meet the city’s needs.
    City leaders need to quit whining, get moving and lead the city where it needs to go.




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