Bald Mountain, November 4, 2015 

City of Ketchum
P.O. Box 2315
480 East Avenue N.
Ketchum, Idaho 83340
"Small Town, Big Life"

November 12, 2015
In This Issue
A Message From Mayor Nina Jonas: Thank You, Candidates

Nina Color Throughout the Wood River Valley, all the incumbents who ran were re-elected. This can be viewed as a positive sign, sending a message that voters are comfortable with our progress towards becoming a more viable community. In Ketchum, we will go into the new year with a stable and experienced City Council whose members know how to work together toward common goals.
 
Ketchum will continue to collaborate with our neighboring cities as we work towards consolidating services. Consolidation of certain services can strengthen the quality of the product, improve the efficacy of the dollar spent and provide more reliable service. Cooperation is currently under way for marketing, air service improvements and emergency services. I foresee making even greater strides in the next few years, saving money and providing better service for the community.
 
It has been a pleasure to work with Sun Valley Mayor DeWayne Briscoe, who is retiring. We look forward to a productive relationship with new Sun Valley Mayor Peter Hendricks, as well as new council members and continuing officials in all Blaine County cities.
 
All in all, democracy and community spirit are alive and well here. We thank every candidate who volunteered to help guide our community.

Nina


ASK NINA
It is becoming increasingly more difficult to drive on the highway through Ketchum, especially south of Sun Valley Road. The grooves are so deep it feels like a low-riding car will become caught on the road surface. Also, the grooves tend to throw a car around. Has the city asked the state to take a look at the condition of the highway and resurface it?

We have asked this question of the Idaho Transportation Department, which maintains Main Street because it is part of state Highway 75. ITD currently does not have funds for a complete repair. A representative has said ITD will investigate the cost of a thin overlay on the road, which would be an interim solution.

Do you have a question for Mayor Nina Jonas? AskNina@ketchumidaho.org

Note: If you submit a question to "Ask Nina," your name may be published unless you request that it be withheld.
WHY IT CAN BE HARD TO GET A TAXI
Taxi
Taxi, taxi, I need a ride! Finding a taxi in Ketchum is sometimes a challenge. In a resort economy where demand goes up and down, maintaining consistent taxi service is difficult. There are times when rider demand exceeds the supply of taxis and there are times when there is insufficient demand to support any taxi operations. As the shared economy grows, in the future, it may be possible to hire a driver in Ketchum through Uber, Lyft, or some other digital network rideshare company. We're not there yet. Similar to taxi service, ridesharing operations are inconsistent. Sometimes during major events, requests for ridesharing services go unanswered.

Throughout the country struggles exist between taxi, limousine and rideshare operations because of the way cities and state agencies regulate and license each operation. Some say the taxi and limousine industry has more stringent regulations than rideshare companies and there is unfair competition. In Ketchum, limousines and taxis are defined separately in the municipal code and require different licenses even though they perform similar functions. 

This is about to change with proposed revisions to the Ketchum taxi regulations. In order to simplify the license process for both types of transportation, a proposal will go before the City Council to standardize the taxi and limousine regulations. A taxi will be considered a limousine; a limousine will be considered a taxi. This discussion is scheduled for the Nov.16 City Council meeting.

As to digital rideshare operations such as Uber, Idaho cities have no authority to regulate or license them. Instead, those operations are regulated by the State of Idaho in Title 49 Chapter 37 in the Transportation Network Company Services Act.

So for now, hiring a driver may continue to be a challenge. But the great thing about Ketchum is there are alternatives: You can take the bus, ride a bike, walk or rely on the kindness of friends.

CONGRATULATIONS TO mAYOR jONAS
Mayor Nina Jonas has won a "Surprise Award" from Blue Cross of Idaho for the October Mayor's School Walking Challenge in southwest and central Idaho. The $1,000 award will be donated to Hemingway Elementary School. She walked with students during their lunch recess on Wednesdays and to most of her appointments, totaling 328 miles (747,624 steps) for the month. She placed 7th in a total of 27 participants. 
 
Hemingway School will use the donation for new playground equipment. Other program sponsors, in addition to Blue Cross of Idaho, are High Five Children's Initiative, the Idaho Dairy Council and St. Luke's Health System.
 
"Our community thanks the sponsors for highlighting the problem of childhood obesity and giving children an incentive to avoid it," Mayor Jonas said.
 
SNOW REMOVAL: WHAT ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES?
Snow Hauling
The recent snow is an earlier reminder that vehicles must be removed from city streets between 2 and 7 a.m. to allow time for plowing. Violators face warnings, tickets and possibly towed-away cars on snowy nights.
 
The hours of 2 to 7 a.m. were selected because there is the least amount of business activity at those times. Even five hours is a very small window of time for plowing all city streets, noted Brian Christiansen, street superintendent. It takes about seven hours to plow all the routes in town. On days with heavy snowfall, it can take as much as 10 hours or even 16 hours if streets must be plowed twice within 24 hours.
 
Here are some reminders of snowplowing rules that keep our streets and sidewalks safe and welcoming to residents and visitors:
 
Driveway berms . City snowplows leave berms of snow across driveways as they clear streets. Property owners are responsible for removing these berms.
 
Sidewalks . Property owners are required to move snow from sidewalks the same day as it falls or within the first six hours of daylight after a snowfall. Please place the snow in parking areas, not in the travel lane. 
 
Snow stakes. If residents place snow stakes, they must be at least 18 inches from the edge of the pavement (the same location the city uses). Do not use steel snow stakes. They are a danger to pedestrians and cause damage to snow removal equipment. The city will remove them. The street division uses snow stakes as a guide for the snow plows as to where the edge of the road is to avoid damaging the right-of way. If we get the amount of snow we all want, the city will need to use the full right-of-way for snow storage. It will then remove any stakes in the right-of-way regardless whether they belong to the city or private individuals. 
 
Snow removal. Residents should not place shoveled snow in the street. It gets packed down and creates a rough spot in the roadway. When the temperatures rise above freezing, this creates a hazardous area of loose, sloppy snow that is dangerous for small cars.
 
Fire hydrants. Nearby homeowners are asked to remove snow from fire hydrants. Firefighters will shovel them out as time permits, but Fire Chief Mike Elle notes that peak emergency call times typically coincide with heavy snowstorms. If there is a fire, immediate access to a hydrant is critical. (See story below.)
 
Compliance with these regulations will help us all enjoy the winter safely. Click here for complete regulations on snow and ice removal.

ADOPT YOUR LOCAL FIRE HYDRANT
Adopt a fire hydrant and the life and property you save could be your own. Ketchum Fire Department asks homeowners to "adopt" the fire hydrants near their homes and shovel the hydrants out as they are clearing their own properties. Firefighters need to have a clear space of three feet around a hydrant, plus a path to the street, before they can begin work. As one firefighter said, no one wants to watch a house burning down while the hydrant is still being shoveled out. For more information on how you can adopt a fire hydrant, contact the Ketchum Fire Department at 726-7805.

ARTS COMMISSION PLANS HOLIDAY DECORATIONS IN TOWN SQUARE
Santa Hat Santa will begin his rounds on Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 4:30 p.m., traveling through town on a Ketchum Fire Department truck. He will arrive at Town Square at about 5 p.m. Mayor Nina Jonas will turn on holiday lights at the Square when he arrives.
 
Decorations at Town Square this year will have some new elements and are being planned by the Ketchum Arts Commission, assisted by the expertise of Belissimo owner, Terry Murphy.
 
Part of the decor is an additional piece of art. The city is seeking a $500 donation to cover a stipend for the artist. If you would like to contribute, please email participate@ketchumidaho.org
 
Owners of the Auberge Hotel, about to go up on Main Street, have donated three trees that were removed for construction to the holiday decorations.

PROTECT TREES AND PRESERVE VIEW OF STARS
Remember that a city permit is required to place holiday lights on trees within the city right-of-way. This requirement is designed to protect trees from "girdling," which can happen when lights remain on trees year-round and cut off tissue under the bark as trees grow. Click here to read the ordinance. 
 
Holiday lights on all property are exempt from most provisions of Ketchum's Dark Skies ordinance, which is designed to preserve views of the night skies and stars. Holiday lights may be left on until April 15. Lights on city property must be removed by that day. 
 
Flashing lights are prohibited on commercial properties and discouraged on residential properties.

The city requests that holiday lights be turned off after bedtime and after the close of business.

WHAT DO WATER RATES PAY FOR?
Water Drop Water rates pay for the service of providing water and are also intended to pay for infrastructure replacement or projects needed to upgrade the facilities.
 
A study of Ketchum rates, which began last year, is being conducted by Zions Bank Public Finance.  New rates will be proposed to the City Council early next year so that the city will be able to fund deferred improvements identified in the city's facility master plans, such as replacing the water distribution pipeline on Saddle Road and the preliminary screening at the wastewater treatment facility.
 
Both water and sewer service are funded entirely from user charges, rather than property tax income, and it is important for revenues to be sufficient to pay for the service. The current rates cover only the cost of operation and basic maintenance such as repair of broken water mains and meters and routine vehicle upkeep. They are insufficient to pay for capital improvements, such as water meters for the properties that currently are unmetered, and replacement of aging pipes and equipment.
 
Ketchum bills water and sewer service quarterly.  Metered customers, which account for 90 percent of the total, pay a base fee plus a usage fee based on the amount of water used.
 
Customers without meters pay a flat rate, depending on the number of water taps in the home or business and the area of land irrigated. The city however, will install water meters on those properties in order to have all customers metered by 2017.
 
The city also is investigating an on-line bill pay system so that customers will be able to pay bills with either a bank account transfer or credit card. The city also is upgrading our meter reading equipment for faster meter reading.
 
Once these two systems are in place, the city will move to monthly billing rather than quarterly billing.

TOM ANCONA NAMED ASSISTANT FIRE CHIEF
Tom Ancona has been named assistant fire chief/fire marshal in Ketchum.
 
Ancona was a firefighter in Connecticut from 1976 to 1984, and helped a family member move to the Wood River Valley in 1978. He returned for a visit every year and finally moved here in 1984. "Ketchum just has so much to offer," he said.
 
Ancona first served as a volunteer firefighter and joined the department full time as captain in 2002. He values the family atmosphere of the fire department and the opportunities it offers, including helicopter and other backcountry rescues. His most memorable experience dates back to 1992 when he helped rescue two injured climbers from Castle Peak. The operation required repeated rappels to the site from 5 p.m. until 7 a.m. the next morning.
 
"Tom Ancona has been an exceptional fire service instructor for as long as I've known him and has worked very hard on fire prevention through building inspections and code enforcement," Chief Mike Elle said. His appointment to the assistant chief/fire marshal position will help keep our citizens safer."
 
Ancona has received 10 commendations from the city and was voted Firefighter of the Year in 1993.
 
He succeeds Robbie Englehart, who retired.

MEET TWO NEW POLICE OFFICERS
Two new Blaine County sheriff's deputies, Dina Mitma and Philip Rummel, will soon be assigned to the Ketchum Police Department.

One position became available when former Ketchum detective and patrol deputy Michal Grigsby was promoted to patrol sergeant. Mayor Nina Jonas and City Council also added funding for an additional police officer in the FY2015/16 budget.
 
Mitma is a graduate of Wood River High School and has an associate's degree in criminal justice from College of Southern Idaho. She worked in California for several years before returning to the Wood River Valley three years ago. She likes "the opportunity to work in a beautiful smaller town where we can get to know the community and work with a great law enforcement team."
 
Rummel moved here five months ago after working as an officer at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility near Philadelphia. He was a major in criminal justice at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania when the Houston Astros drafted him in 2008 to pursue a career in professional baseball.
 
"I have desired a career in law enforcement since I was a child," he said. Ketchum is a great city with a lively social scene and beautiful landscape. I couldn't ask for a better place to work."

BUSINESS NEWS
Sun Valley Gallery Association Hosts Giving Walk 
Members of the Sun Valley Gallery Association are hosting an Apres-Ski Giving Walk on Friday, Nov. 27, from 4-6 p.m. Gallery members will have collection bins for canned or boxed food for The Hunger Coalition; new or used clothing for The Advocates; and pet food and supplies for the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley.

Sun Valley Gallery Association member galleries include Broschofsky Galleries, Fredric Boloix Fine Arts, Friesen Gallery, Gail Severn Gallery, Gilman Contemporary, Harvey Art Projects USA, Jennifer Bellinger Fine Art, Kneeland Gallery, Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Wood River Fine Arts.

Take Advantage of Air Specials 
Invite your friends to visit. Alaska Airlines is offering fares as low as $99 if you book by Monday, Nov. 16. Consider another special as well. If you register by  Feb. 5 and make two separate round trips to select cities, you get a third trip for free.

Visitor Numbers Continue to Grow 
WHAT WE'RE READING ... AND WRITING
Jennifer L. Smith, director of parks and recreation
NEWS AT A GLANCE
Coming Up At City Council Monday
The Spot's request to hold live performances attracting more than 25 people will go before City Council at its meeting Monday, Nov. 16, at 5:30 p.m. The Planning and Zoning Commission has recommended approval of the request, which would permit dance, music and theatrical performances. A "text amendment" to the zoning code is required, as The Spot's location at 220 Lewis St. is currently zoned light industrial. Also on the agenda will be changes in regulations for taxis and limousines. (See earlier story.)

Nightmare on Main Street: Thank You!
Thanks to Nick Harman for spearheading the fund-raising drive and planning Ketchum's annual Halloween party, Nightmare on Main. An estimated 460 people attended the event. Ketchum assisted with coordination of the event and managed the closing of the street and the $1,000 costs associated with the street closure.  
 
Camping on City Property May Be Possible
Camping on city property may be permitted as part of a special events license, if the City Council approves the proposed ordinance at their next meeting, Monday, Nov. 16, at 5:30 p.m.. The suggested change in city law, which prohibits all camping on city property, comes with Ride Idaho's request for permission for approximately 130 people to camp at Atkinson Park when the group visits town next August. The event is expected to bring a total of 400 to 500 people to Ketchum.
 
David, Slanetz Re-elected
Incumbents Michael David and Jim Slanetz have been elected to their second four-year terms on City Council.

Contractor Training Offered 
It is hard to find local contractors that are certified to perform public works projects. There is a special certification contractors need when doing public projects. To help address this problem, the city has asked Idaho Department of Building and Safety to conduct training for local contractors so they can obtain public works certification. This is at no cost to the city. Please contact the Planning and Building Department for more information at 726-7801. 
 
Reminder: Fish & Game to Meet in Hailey Nov. 18
Idaho Fish and Game commissioners will meet at the Community Campus in Hailey on Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 18 and 19, at 6 p.m.. The Commission meets in Blaine County infrequently, and the Thursday evening meeting is a good opportunity for local residents to present their concerns.We often hear from Ketchum sportsmen about angler access, wildlife-viewing opportunities (inclusive of predators), and trapping and hiking. Agenda items include the 2015-2018 fishing seasons, plans for managing various wildlife populations and the fiscal 2017 budget. Please let commissioners know your opinion on the importance of biodiversity, trapping and other issues.
 
City Offices to Close for Thanksgiving
City offices will be closed Thursday and Friday, Nov. 26-27, for the Thanksgiving holiday.

MEETING INFORMATION
City Council 
Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 16. City Council meetings are held on the first and third Mondays of each month in Ketchum City Hall. Click here to see the agenda and staff reports or scan the QR code.

Planning and Zoning Commission 
Planning and Zoning Commission meetings are held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. The next P&Z meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 23, in Ketchum City Hall. Click here for agendas and staff reports or scan the QR code.

Public Comment 
If you cannot attend the Council or P&Z meetings and have an opinion, please submit your comments via email to participate@ketchumidaho.org. Your input and engagement is encouraged. All comments will be reviewed. 
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