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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of January 14 - 20, 2004


Wilson: ‘It was just
time to get out’

Outgoing SV mayor ‘honored’ to serve

Express Staff Writer

Outgoing Sun Valley Mayor David Wilson said last week that he considers it a "great honor" to have served in city government for 14 years but has no regrets about deciding to relinquish his office.

"It was just time to do something else," Wilson said in an interview Friday, Jan. 9. "There’s only so much time to spend with your family. It was just time to get out."

Wilson, who announced in September that he would not seek election to a second term as Sun Valley mayor, will be replaced Jan. 15 by Mayor-elect Jon Thorson, a retired physician who resides in Elkhorn.

Wilson said his decision to leave office was "reaffirmed" in November, when longtime friend James Woodyard perished in a tragic plane crash near Bellevue.

Wilson was appointed to the Sun Valley City Council in 1990, before being elected mayor in 1999. In reflecting on his years of service as a Planning and Zoning commissioner, member of the City Council, City Council president and mayor, Wilson said he believes Sun Valley government has made significant gains.

"Ten years ago we didn’t even have a computer in City Hall," he said. "The government of Sun Valley has really come a long way. It’s in good financial shape. It’s in good physical shape."

Wilson said he believes one of the most important accomplishments of his administration was the responsible management of the city’s finances.

The mayor said the city—which has an approximate population of only 1,450—boasts a cash reserve of $1.5 million, despite declining revenues from local option taxes the last two fiscal years.

The city has predicted it will bring in approximately $1,120,500 in LOT revenues during the 2003-2004 fiscal year.

"We would have enough cash to operate if the LOT dropped to $500,000 one year," Wilson said.

At the same time, Wilson said, the city has pursued an aggressive capital improvement program, mainly to improve city roadways and infrastructure.

The mayor said he is proud to have brought forth and nurtured a plan to use the city’s five-acre open space parcel along Sun Valley Road for public events.

Some citizen’s—including Thorson—have criticized Wilson in the last two years for his onetime interest in developing the parcel with a new $20 million arts center.

However, the mayor said, he believes the discussions he presided over about the parcel’s potential uses brought about an appropriate plan to use the site as a venue for concerts, plays and other short-term events.

"The end result was good," he said. "Through the process, I think we came out with a great solution."

Wilson said he has only one outstanding disappointment with being the city’s chief administrator for the last four years: the pace at which city government operates.

"The way government moves, it’s like steering a big ship. You may move the rudder 30 times and it could take four hours to turn."

Wilson said he believes the new mayor and the City Council face several challenges. First and foremost, the new mayor and the council are faced with negotiating the approval of a forthcoming master plan of properties owned by Sun Valley Co.

Maintaining open space along Sun Valley Road and protecting the quaint ambience of Sun Valley must be balanced with allowing the resort company to make improvements to stay competitive with other Rocky Mountain destinations, Wilson said.

A second major issue facing the city is the ongoing review of two development applications that stand to completely change the composition of Elkhorn Village, Wilson said.

"City officials have a responsibility to do that in a way that’s an asset and not a liability," he said.

Wilson, the owner of Ketchum-based Wilson Construction, said he will continue to operate his business. In addition, he will remain active as the vice president of the National Association of Home Builders, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association with 215,000 members.



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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.