Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hailey boosts budget by more than $181K

City to pay Old Cutters legal fees and appease Knife River

Express Staff Writer

    The Hailey City Council on Monday increased appropriations by $181,385 for fiscal year 2015, raising the total expenditures to $17,194,906.
    The City Council voted unanimously to increase spending by $116,385 to pay legal fees, as stipulated by a bankruptcy court, incurred by Old Cutters LLC in 2012. Last week, the city settled with the development company after two years of litigation, abandoning hope of collecting $2.5 million in annexation fees associated with development of a new subdivision in the city.
    “We were naïve enough to think that a deal was a deal,” between the city and Old Cutters, said City Councilman Don Keirn.
    The City Council also voted to settle potential litigation with Knife River Corp. by appropriating an additional $65,000 to pay for chip-sealing materials for Woodside Boulevard.
    Woodside Boulevard was rebuilt by Knife River in 2012, during which time the company sued several utility companies and the city of Hailey for infrastructure scheduling errors that allegedly cost the company $333,000 in delays costs.
    Mayor Fritz Haemmerle said the city decided not to enter into an expensive legal fight with Knife River over the claim, and instead settle the dispute by agreeing to pay the chip-sealing materials cost.
    Haemmerle expressed dismay over federal laws that required the city to do business with Knife River because they were the low bidder on the project.
In other Hailey news:

  • Staffer Mariel Platt said the Streets Department has in the last two weeks filled in 75 percent of the    potholes identified and listed in the city’s “pothole inventory.”
  • Sun Valley Co. donated nine ski and snowboard features for Hailey’s grind park, which the city plans to build in Keefer Park this winter. City Councilman Pat Cooley is researching the possibility of using a snow-making machine at the park.
  • Community Development Director Micah Austin took a job working for the city of Ketchum. He will continue at his position in Hailey until the end of December.
  • Hailey adopted the 2012 International Building and Conservation Codes.
  • Because the city of Hailey failed to publish in the newspaper an ordinance making schools a conditional use, the City Council will hold another public hearing on the ordinance in November.

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