Wednesday, November 20, 2013

City approves Fly Sun Valley contract

Deal gives organization two separate payments of $25,000

Express Staff Writer

     The Ketchum City Council on Monday unanimously approved a contract to pay the nonprofit Fly Sun Valley Alliance $25,000 now and an additional $25,000 once the new council is sworn in on Jan. 6.
A final decision was reached after some council members bemoaned the effects of the Beaver Creek Fire last August on air service to the area. As a result, the council agreed the city couldn’t afford to pay anything less than $50,000 to make sure the Fly Sun Valley Alliance meets its minimum-revenue guarantees to Alaska Air, which serves the Sun Valley airport from the West Coast.
    “These minimum-revenue guarantees are a pain, but we need to pay this money,” Councilman Michael David said. “This will be much different next year, but for now we really can’t give them anything less.”
    Councilman Baird Gourlay agreed with David, and although he was far from enthusiastic about the contract, he said the funding is necessary.
    “For me, as much as I would like to pay $25,000, we really do need to pay $50,000,” Gourlay said. “The fire devastated them, and the contract doesn’t alleviate them from natural disasters.”
Ketchum voters passed a 1 percent local-option-tax initiative to support air service earlier this month. Community Development and Economic Director Lisa Horowitz said the LOT funds will be collected starting on Feb. 25. However, funds cannot be given out to support air service until after March.
The Fly Sun Valley Alliance works to maintain and bolster commercial air service to the Wood River Valley.
    Gourlay suggested that with the pressure the Fly Sun Valley Alliance is under, perhaps more responsibility should be placed on the city of Sun Valley.
    “Maybe we should pressure the Sun Valley City Council to give them more money,” he said.
Outgoing Mayor Randy Hall voiced his optimism about a new era of cooperation with Sun Valley.
“With new faces out there on the Sun Valley City Council, hopefully they will try to help,” Hall said.
Eric Avissar:

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