Back to Home Page

Local Links
Sun Valley Guide
Hemingway in Sun Valley
Real Estate

For the week of May 2 through May 8, 2001

Bus barn draws fire in Hailey

Mayor delivers state-of-the-city address

Express Staff Writer

Hailey Mayor Brad Siemer drew applause a couple of times from a vocal and sometimes hostile audience during his state-of-the-city address at the Liberty Theatre.

The address on April 24, sponsored by the Hailey Chamber of Commerce, included presentations by Jim Lewis, superintendent of the Blaine County School District, and Scott Boettger, executive director of the Wood River Land Trust.

About 60 people attended and seemed mostly interested in only one of the evening’s topics—a proposed school bus barn and city maintenance project to the west of Lion’s Park at the mouth of Croy Canyon.

Nearly all of their questions were about the bus barn.

Most members of the audience were polite, but at one point a number of people got worked up.

"Why did we have to first hear about this in the Twin Falls newspaper?" one man asked.

Then, "Don’t busses belong at the school."

"Yeh," another man added loudly.

Anger seemed to build in the theater as more questions and remarks peppered Siemer and Lewis, who had moved to center stage.

And then Siemer took the microphone and said, "Do you want an answer to your questions, or do you want to keep talking?"

A man, who identified himself as a resident of Croy Canyon, asked the mayor what his zoning priorities were—more residential or more light industrial?

The mayor responded that he thought "the priority is to get our kids safely to their education and to maintain the equipment used to provide you services.

"The priority should be to effectively provide services, and education is one of them."

Lewis pleaded with the audience to allow the school district, the city and the Land Trust time to complete their designs and to make a public presentation. He said people would have "the opportunity to respond in the process."

The mood of the audience can be summed up with one last loud remark from the back of the theater.

"When we go to the polls next time, remember these people."




Applause during Siemer’s state-of-the-city address came before the question and answer session about the bus barn.

It first erupted when he praised departing Chamber of Commerce executive director Sallie Hanson.

"I think special thanks should go to Sallie Hanson for her contributions to the chamber and our community," he said. "We all owe her."

Siemer also praised the city’s staff, calling them the "finest city staff this community has ever had work for it."

Next to be applauded was the mayor’s statement that the city was getting close to building a family park in Woodside.

He said the Hailey was going to buy 10 lots from Sprenger Grubb and Associates in Woodside, east of Ironwood Tennis Club and abutting the hillside.

City planner Kathy Grotto said the property still has to be appraised before the purchase is completed and that Sprenger Grubb had agreed to sell the lots at 50 percent of their value.

The issue of water did not draw any applause, but Siemer emphasized it is the biggest issue facing the city, especially water conservation.

One way to conserve, he said, would be to meter everyone’s water use. Metering would allow users to know how much they used, and it would allow the city to bill according to use.

At present, many but not all commercial users are billed. Residential users are not metered and pay a flat rate per month.

It was also time, he said, for the city to bury the water mains deeper in Old Hailey.

Last winter, as in previous winters, residents of Old Hailey were instructed to leave a water tap dripping to help keep the water main from freezing.

(Old Hailey refers to the original town site bounded by River Street on the west, Fourth Avenue on the east, Myrtle Street on the north, and the dogleg of Highway 75 on the south.)

Siemer told the audience that while running water kept pipes from freezing, it wasn’t an efficient way of handling the problem.

Even though water isn’t actually wasted in this process since it goes back into the aquifer, the expense of pumping and purifying the water just to pour it straight back into the ground is wasted.

He also told the audience that the city would begin odd/even watering days on May 1 in anticipation of a summer drought.


Back to Front Page
Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.