local weather Click for Sun Valley, Idaho Forecast
 front page
 public meetings

 previous edition

 express jobs
 about us
 advertising info
 classifieds info
 internet info
 sun valley central
 sun valley guide
 real estate guide
 sv catalogs
Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

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. 

Friday, July 16, 2004


City eyes ways to cut budget

Ketchum Council tries to label $60,000 to ensure employees get raises

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum city officials this week continued seeking means to cut the proposed 2004-2005 budget to ensure city employees receive a scheduled pay raise.

Although the plan could leave some city programs and projects underfunded, Mayor Ed Simon and members of the City Council indicated they are committed to cutting $60,000 from the city’s draft $9.7 million spending plan for the 2004-2005 fiscal year.

In a special budget discussion Tuesday, July 13, council members took a close look at expenditures proposed to fund the city’s Planning, Building and Parks departments.

The council did not direct City Administrator Ron LeBlanc to make any specific cuts to the draft budget but did identify several potential programs that could be eliminated.

Council members debated at length whether the city could afford to hire a new part-time staff member in the Building Department and if they should finance the implementation of a costly downtown-parking analysis completed earlier this year.

Councilwoman Terry Tracy said she might stand against the addition of any new city staff.

"I’m just very reluctant to add staff when we’re asking departments to cut their budgets," she said.

Indeed, with the 2004-2005 budget being characterized as very "tight," LeBlanc and department heads have already cut hundreds of thousands of dollars from the first incarnation of the budget to bring expenses in line with city revenues.

On Tuesday, Parks and Recreation Director Kirk Mason—who proposed a department budget equal to that of the current fiscal year—told the council that his department has many needs that will inevitably go unfunded in 2004-2005.

Tracy, Mason’s predecessor as parks and recreation director, was sympathetic.

"I think that the Parks Department has always been among the Sisters of the Poor," she said.

Harold Moniz, planning director, said he wants to "get the ball rolling" in implementing recommendations made in a recently released parking study by Oregon-based consultant Kittelson & Associates. Generally, the study recommends the city start increasing its management of parking in the city limits.

However, Moniz conceded that adequate funding of the plan, at least in the 2004-2005 fiscal year, is unlikely.

On Wednesday, LeBlanc said he intends to work with the City Council to find the approximately $60,000 necessary to provide so-called salary "step increases" for all 76 city workers, except department heads. He said the city might ultimately employ a combination of cuts and revenue-estimate adjustments.

The step increases would represent approximately 3 percent of the employees’ salaries and would be given in addition to a 1.5 percent cost-of-living-adjustment.

With cuts being sought to fund employee raises, some city residents are wondering how the city will proceed with funding a set of proposed capital improvements. The budget allocates a mere $185,000 in 2004-2005 for a list of proposed improvements.

LeBlanc said Wednesday he will likely advise the council later this summer to seek a bond issue to make "basic improvements"—such as new lighting and sidewalks—to the commercial core.

Budget discussions are scheduled to continue next week.


City of Ketchum

Formula Sports


Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

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.