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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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Wednesday, March 10, 2004


Ketchum should
spend on basics

Improvements in downtown Ketchum went begging again this year because the city believed itself to be on the verge of a red ink spill. The city budgeted nothing to build basics such as missing sidewalks and missing streetlights.

Like bread and butter, the basics aren’t sexy, just necessary. The basics could go begging again next year unless the mayor and City Council decide to make them priorities.

City leaders promised they would deliver a list of priorities for city improvements sometime in January. They didn’t. In the meantime, opportunities for spending are piling up like planes circling a busy airport.

The competition for city funds is keen. City leaders already have promised to put a $3 million bond issue before voters. The bond would help construct the proposed $16 million YMCA. Depending on how the bond is structured it could take a big bite out of what the city may have available for basics.

The city’s own Parks and Recreation Department has proposed $250,000 in new spending to rebuild a 10-year-old skateboard park because the existing park is not state-of-the-art anymore.

The Cemetery District is also looking for a little Ketchum money—so it can keep the cost of plots--now $600 for district residents, $2,000 for non-residents--down. The district says the $33,000 it derives from tax levies and plot sales isn’t enough to pay for a master plan, cemetery expansion and improvements.

The city itself has made no secret of the fact that it wants to figure out how to build a large new City Hall and firehouse expansion. A lot of city insiders are excited about the prospect, but there’s no doubt such a project will be pricey.

Ketchum will never lack exciting projects. Yet, it is still a city that forces old people and children to walk in the streets because the majority of its elected leaders have been cheap wimps—too penurious to pay and too fearful to insist that property owners help foot the bill for basics like sidewalks. Unfortunately, people can’t walk on apologies and excuses.

This year the city should do something revolutionary: Take care of the basics first.


City of Ketchum

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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.