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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of November 6 - 12, 2002

Election 2002

Pace and Fairbrother elected to county offices

Voters approve E-911

Express Staff Writer

In contested Blaine County races, Valdi Pace was re-elected to a second term as county assessor, Leslie Fairbrother was elected to the Recreation District board of directors and voters approved funding of an enhanced 911 system.

In uncontested races, Commissioners Mary Ann Mix and Dennis Wright, Clerk Marsha Riemann and Treasurer Vicki Dick were returned to office. Voters approved another term for 5th District Magistrate Judge Robert Elgee.

The number of voters appeared “very steady” Tuesday morning in West Ketchum at the Ernest Hemingway Elementary School polling place. Express photo by Willy Cook

Sun Valley voters approved an eight-year extension of the city’s 3-percent local-option tax. Since 1998, the city has collected the sales tax on hotel and vacation rental charges, liquor by the drink and most retail sales except lift tickets and building materials. The vote was 305 to 198.

By press time late Tuesday night, votes had been counted in 14 of 15 county precincts. Of 8,703 registered voters in those precincts, 5,751 cast ballots. The following percentages are based on those counts.

The county assessor’s race had pitted Pace against county appraiser Walter Cochran. Pace had stressed the benefits of maintaining continuity in the office, while Cochran had promised to make the office more open to the public and to make more efficient use of personnel. Pace won with about 67 percent of the vote.

No substantive issues divided the candidates for the Subdistrict #1 seat on the rec district board. Both Fairbrother and Steve Keefer had supported the district’s short-term and long-term plans. Fairbrother beat Keefer with about 55 percent of the vote.

Under state law, a 60-percent majority was required to pass authorization of a $1-per-month fee on phone users to fund the E-911 system. Voters approved the measure by an overwhelming margin of 81 percent.

An enhanced 911 system will inform dispatchers of a call’s place of origin. The county’s two dispatch points, at the sheriff’s office and Ketchum Police Department, have caller I.D., which reveals the caller’s phone number. However, determining the location from that can take time. Furthermore, in a resort area, many callers are unfamiliar with their locations and cannot give accurate directions.

"It’s been too long without it," said former county commissioner Len Harlig, now chairman of the Wood River/Sawtooth Emergency Medical Services Council. "We can save lives and we can save property."

Collection of the $1 per month fee will begin in February and last indefinitely, though supporters have said the amount should decline after four or five years. The $440,000 system is scheduled to be installed by July 2004. Maintenance costs are expected to run about $4,000 a month.

The system will eventually be compatible with cell phones, but since that will take some time, cell phone users will not be immediately charged the fee.



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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.