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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.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2004


Ketchumís madcap spending and penny-pinching plan

The Ketchum City Council is flying in the fog without a flight plan.

On Monday night, the council unanimously took steps to totally replace the Guy Coles Skate Park at an estimated cost of $253,000. After private donations, the cityís share would be $224,000 plus interest.

The councilís consideration is hasty at best.

The city didnít budget a dime for capital improvements this year and has no money in its budget for a skate park.

No matter.

The council wants to get around the problem by seeking a loan on which the first payment would not be due until after the 2005 budget goes into effect next fall. Of course, the skate park would be finished beforehand.

The move ignored the fact that a budget for 2005 hasnít been drafted, debated nor noticed to the public and is far outside the legal budget process, so far outside that it risks violating the Idaho Constitution.

The council is blind in its haste.

It knows that the YMCA wants $3 million from the city to build a facility for everyone from skaters to swimmers. The city also knows it faces decades of neglect of sidewalks, lighting, and parking.

The city already has a skate park. Proponents argue that a new one will attract more visitors, who will contribute to the local economy. But the real issue looks to be envy: Haileyís newer state-of-the-art skate park has eclipsed Ketchumís. Hailey has better downtown sidewalks too, but the city has been in no rush to compete in that arena.

It would be one thing if the city council were really concerned about local kids and their families, but itís not. With the vocal exception of Council Member Terry Tracy, the council also is considering increased fees for summer park programs.

A 10% increase, on top of last yearís 5% increase, would generate a grand total of $4,000ópeanuts relative to the cityís $14 million budget.

The council heard arguments that the fees should be increased because they are below average and unfairly subsidize families from Sun Valley, which has no parks, and Hailey and Bellevue families with parents who work in Ketchum.

These would be compelling arguments except for one thing. Ketchum subsidizes precious little of the growth impacts it has exported to the south valley.

Ketchum should call a halt to pinching pennies from working families and end its ill-advised back-pocket spending on a new skate park. If the council canít get its flight plan in order, the mayor should dust off his big red veto stamp and use it.


City of Ketchum

Formula Sports


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Premier Resorts Sun Valley

High Country Property Rentals

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.