Friday, August 29, 2014

Ketchum adopts $14.275 million budget

3 fire department salaries, new 1 percent tax factored in

Express Staff Writer

    The Ketchum City Council adopted on Tuesday a $14.275 million budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.
    The final budget for the upcoming fiscal year calls for spending 1.1 percent less than in the current fiscal year. The 2014-15 draft budget originally proposed spending 1.23 percent less than in this fiscal year.
    The 2014-15 budget also includes new revenues from the 1 percent local-option tax to support air service to the valley, which was implemented in January 2014.
    Annually, the mayor and City Council review the budget and make adjustments based on projected revenues and the anticipated needs for the upcoming year. Last year’s adopted budget totaled just over $14,427,000. The mayor’s original budget proposal this year called for a spending plan of $14.25 million, but the adopted version came in at just under $14.275 million.
    The new 1 percent LOT is estimated to bring more than $1.2 million into the coffers this fiscal year, while more than $1.5 million is expected to come in during the upcoming year. Approved by voters in November 2013, the 1 percent LOT for Air goes to the Air Service Board, which allocates the money to fund air-service agreements and to market flights in and out of the valley.
    Notable changes made by the mayor and council during the three readings of the budget include a decision to fund three full-time firefighter positions within the city that were previously funded by a FEMA grant. The money to fund the positions will come from a 38/62 split between the Fire and Rescue Fund and the Ambulance Fund, respectively. The total budget for Ketchum’s Fire and Rescue Fund is $834,000, a 6.8 percent increase from last year.  
    The council also elected to increase the amount of money allotted to the Mountain Rides bus system from $500,000 to $550,000 throughout the summer readings of the budget. That’s the same amount Mountain Rides received in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.
     Also approved were 2 percent salary increases for all city employees, except firefighters, who will get a 3.8 percent raise over a two-year period.
    Councilman Baird Gourlay applauded Mayor Nina Jonas on working with City Clerk Sandra Cady on the budget in the absence of a city administrator. A new city administrator, Suzanne Frick, took office earlier this month following a several-month hiatus between administrators.

Highlights of the Ketchum budget

  • $450,000 to the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance.
  • $550,000 to Mountain Rides.
  • Two part-time Parks and Recreation employees converted to full time.
  • $1.9 million to the street maintenance fund.
  • $383,000 to the wastewater capital improvement fund.
  • $80,000 for open space acquisition and recreation, provided there is growth in LOT receipts.
  • $1.5 million to the Sun Valley Air Service Board, from the 1 percent LOT for Air tax.

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