Friday, February 7, 2014

Ketchum leans toward revising URA board

Council wants balance between elected officials and members

Express Staff Writer

A majority of Ketchum City Council members agreed Monday that the city’s Urban Renewal Agency board should contain fewer elected officials and more members of the public.
A portion of Monday’s council meeting was dedicated to a continuation of discussions about the board’s bylaws in an effort to improve the organization designed to revitalize the downtown and create more affordable housing.
One of the key points of discussion was the balance of elected officials and members of the public on the board. All council members except Anne Corrock agreed that the seven-member board’s current composition of five elected Ketchum officials—the council and mayor—and two members of the public should be changed to three elected officials and four members of the public.
Councilmen Baird Gourlay and Michael David said they’d like to see one of the at-large members be a registered Ketchum voter, while the other three should be Blaine County residents. However, since taking office in January, Corrock has been adamant that the URA board have a majority of Ketchum residents.
She added Monday that she wants future city governments to have more flexibility to amend the URA’s bylaws. Councilman Michael David concurred.
 “The bylaws can change with future mayors and councils, but I think this is a good mix [of members],” Councilman Jim Slanetz said. “If someone does step down, it gives you the choice of bringing non-elected officials in as well.”
Under the proposed bylaws, the three commissioners on the board who are elected officials would serve two-year terms. If a council member resigns or is terminated, he or she would no longer serve on the URA board.
The four members of the public would serve four-year terms. As is mandated by the current bylaws, the mayor would make each appointment to the URA board, with approval by the City Council.
The council will have two more regular meetings before it has to finalize the URA board’s composition and bylaws, since two members’ term will end March 6.  Tim Eagan and Trina Peters were appointed following the resignations of Gourlay and then-Councilwoman Nina Jonas, who is now the mayor. The council extended their terms two months, from Jan. 6, to allow more time to discuss the board’s bylaws.

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