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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Friday — February 6, 2004


Hailey officials set
goals for four-year
business plan

Procedures for development
applications to be improved

Express Staff Writer

What direction Hailey city government will take in the next four years was the focus of a goal-setting meeting last week when city council members and city staff sat down with Hailey City Administrator Jim Azumano.

Jim Azumano is the new city administrator for the city of Hailey. At a special meeting last week he facilitated a goal-setting workshop that will set city hall up to tackle a four-year business plan. Expess photo by David N. Seelig

Azumano laid out a concept of goal setting in terms of identifying a four-year business plan that focuses on continuity.

City officials ran through the top goals for the city by selecting priorities and items for the back burner. Some items like a new white water park and economic development were left to the purview of outside organizations. Mayor Susan McBryant did say the city’s relationship with the Hailey Farmer’s Market needed to be determined, however.

Long range airport planning is being left to the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority, but there will be city liaisons.


City administrator’s goals

Mayor Susan McBryant noted that there will be an election in two years that would result in a new council. Azumano said in order to build continuity goals are simply shifted in priority depending on the focus of each administration.

One of the ground rules he set out was about conflicts of interest. If a goal directly affects a council member’s personal business, it should be declared. Clarifying conflicts of interest is one of Azumano’s own goals.

In terms of core values and policy positions, Azumano said the city could be a leader at the state level by writing exemplary ordinances, such as for lighting or water policies. He said city staff must remain neutral, but the city council can also respond in writing to the state legislative agenda if there is a cohesive opinion within the council.

Azumano said another priority for him was financial accountability and developing budget policies.


Priorities for the council

Councilman Rick Davis said a high priority should be to identify the true cost of running the city. Azumano, McBryant and other council members agreed. Hailey Fire Chief Mike Chapman said the cost of the service analysis done by Tischler and Associates seems to be targeted at existing levels of services.

Whether the city should be trying to maintain existing levels that reflect national and states averages is something to be considered, Azumano said. Citizen input is important when deciding what is appropriate for local demands, he said. Davis recommended reviewing economic development community business surveys. The council discussed various methods for gathering public input including putting press releases on the city Web site and inserts in the newspapers.

Councilman Don Keirn said he wanted to work with city staff on getting an update to the Tischler report.

Keirn also said identifying portions of the city as Urban Renewal Districts could be a priority, but there was some sentiment that Hailey couldn’t qualify as a slum and blight area.

"The way these projects work is that the city can issue revenue bonds," Keirn said. "In Boise the city started out with a 13 square block area, which was owned by the urban renewal district from which the district can sell land to a developer that comes up with a plan wanted by the district at below market price. The project is then developed to the city’s standards with tax-exempt financing to pay it off."

Combining the effort with a push for Gem Community grants would be the ideal way to go forward, Keirn said.

Another high priority for McBryant was to develop a punch list for developers submitting applications for annexation to the city. The punch list would represent minimum items for discussion, she said. Staff is working on a draft council will be reviewing in mid-February.

The purpose of the list is to help curb a recurring problem where the council gets hit with last minute submissions of pertinent documents just before a public meeting making it difficult to make a balanced review.

Azumano said calendars should be set to ensure there is reasonable flow of application materials from city council to city departments to the mayor to the Planning and Zoning Commission and back to the city council.

"We should empower staff not to accept late submissions or late letters," McBryant said.

Another priority is to assess city zoning needs. The council described it as an inventory question. McBryant said the planning department should handle it with input from the city administrator and the mayor. Councilwoman Martha Burke said inventory considerations should dovetail with the assessments of determining the cost of city services per lot.

Dealing with city streets was another priority for everyone. Burke said she would like to see a traffic calming master plan that would require contributions from future annexations and subdivisions.


City staff work

Code enforcement is a priority for the planning department and there are funds in the budget for an enforcement officer.

The parks management plan is an ongoing issue McBryant said is critical because the city already has parks it can’t manage. The issue was assigned to the city administrator and the public works manager.

Coming changes to city ordinances were being left to city departments, but council members chose to assist. For example Davis said he wanted to work with the city attorney on the city’s junk ordinance.


Back burner items

Azumano said a financial study needs to be done before the city can consider taking a role in a proposal for city cooperation in a public golf course in Quigley Canyon. He said the city shouldn’t be taking business risks. McBryant said she didn’t know the pace at which the project is moving.

Two other back burner items were a transfer of development rights ordinance and a battle with the county about who has say over the area of city impact between Hailey and Bellevue.


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