Small - On #44423B
                                                                                                                          City of Ketchum 
                                                                                                                              P.O. Box 2315 
                                                                                                                         480 East Ave., N. 
                                                                                                                    Ketchum, ID 83340 
                                                                                                               "Small Town, Big Life"
April 3, 2015
In This Issue
A Message From Mayor Nina Jonas: Kerplunk


Tigger and Pooh
Attempting to skim across the pond with Councilman Baird Gourlay at the end of season Dollar pond-skimming celebration, I went kerplunk. While the skimming was super fun, I did "ring my bell" and ended up at the St. Luke's Elks Rehabilitation Center in Hailey taking an ImPACT Concussion Test.  
The test is a computerized concussion evaluation system that helps the physician determine an appropriate treatment plan. The test is most helpful when one has already done a baseline test before an incident ever happens. If one has not done a baseline test, the results can be compared to national norms, although there is no national norm data for individuals over 60.


St Luke's offers free ImPACT Concussion Testing to establish a baseline of cognitive function. Typically, these tests are recommended for athletes. However, in an active community such as ours, a baseline ImPACT test is a good idea for most. Contact the St Luke's Elk Rehab center to schedule your baseline test.
We are very fortunate to have world-class health care that makes our valley an even more impressive place to live. Thank you to the many individuals and institutions that contribute to the community's health care, and put me on the fortunate, brief road to a full recovery.      





What's the rotten deal on sales tax?

A friend was buying a car in Boise and the dealer added the Ketchum local option tax of 2 percent. Another friend bought a washer and dryer in Twin Falls. They charged him the LOT. Why would the local option tax be applicable in Boise or Twin Falls or anywhere else, for that matter?

--John D. Jacoby


This is the second email we have received about out-of-town merchants that have charged the local option tax incorrectly. The local option tax applies only to purchases made in Ketchum or items delivered to Ketchum. The tax does not apply to the car. It applies to the washer and dryer if they were delivered to Ketchum - but not if your friend brought them back in his own truck.


Unfortunately, some merchants in other cities simply look at customers' zip codes to determine the tax and are charging the 2 percent LOT on goods purchased and taken home by their customers. Merchants who deliver and ship to Ketchum need to hold a city sales tax permit, although many are unaware of this. If the merchant holds a Ketchum sales tax permit, the merchant send the LOT tax to Ketchum.


If the merchant charges the 2 percent Ketchum LOT tax in error, it goes to the state. The state eventually refunds the 2 percent overpayment to the merchant, although this process can take as long as six months. The merchant should then refund the overpayment to the customer. Unfortunately, we have not heard of anyone who has received a refund for sales tax overpayments.


Sales tax records are confidential, and Ketchum has no way of tracking sales taxes paid in other cities. We can only urge our residents to check their bills carefully, and point out the appropriate law when stores in other cities attempt to collect the tax inappropriately. We greatly appreciate your sharing this and helping us alert other residents to this issue. 


Visibility blocked

The construction fence at 111 W. 1st Avenue is blocking visibility. Anything will help!

--Bruce Smith


We have installed temporary stop signs to create a four-way stop at the intersection of First Avenue and First Street. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Do you have a question for Mayor Nina Jonas?

Note: If you submit a question to "Ask Nina," your name may be published unless you request that it be withheld.

"The world is run by those who show up."


That's the saying on the bumper sticker of Deborah "Burnsie" Burns, who just completed 10 years on the Ketchum Planning & Zoning Commission. It's also her motto for life.


Burns started showing up when construction of a tall building on Main Street blocked her view. She met with then, soon-to-be-Mayor Randy Hall, and he encouraged her to apply for a seat on the Planning & Zoning Commission. So she did.


"I learned how important it is to pool talents of people from all different areas," she said. "We've had retailers, architects and engineers, and we need all of them on the commission. It's much easier to make good decisions when you have a variety of backgrounds."


During Burns' terms on the commission, approvals for five hotels have been granted and the River Run ski area has been annexed. She is looking forward to the rewriting of the planning code that is under way. "Our planning staff is doing some amazing work. I know in my bones that this is going to be a turning point for Ketchum's future development," she said.


"Burnsie has contributed to the city as it came out of the recession and made plans for future growth," Mayor Nina Jonas said. "During all her commission meetings, she has made it clear that she wants to hear from the average citizen and wants a town where all can thrive. We thank her very much for her years of service."


An avid skier, Burns grew up in Toronto and Grosse Point, Mich. She first came to Ketchum after graduating from the University of Arizona in 1979 and meeting "a very handsome carpenter." She remained until 1989 when she moved to Los Angeles, where she was an assistant director and clothing stylist in the movie industry.


"I encourage people to be part of the community, and to be aware that they can speak up. Every Planning & Zoning Commission and every City Council meeting has a place on the agenda for citizens who want to speak. We live in a small town, and everybody needs to be part of the governing process."



A bond issue to enable Ketchum to discontinue use of aging portions of the water system will go on the May 19 ballot. A simple majority of voters would need to approve the proposal, which is expected to reduce maintenance costs, increase reliability and encourage conservation.


Portions of the community core and the Lewis Street industrial area use pipes installed by Ketchum Springs Water, a private water system that the city acquired in the 1980s.


The Ketchum Springs Water pipes, many of which are more than half a century old, were constructed of wood and steel. They are buried less than six feet deep in some places, meaning that water must be pumped through them to prevent freezing in the winter.


This wastes both water and the electricity needed for pumping. Frequent breakages disrupt water service and increase maintenance costs. In addition, no water meters were installed. Property owners served by this system currently pay a flat rate no matter how much water they use. As part of this project, a water meter would be installed for each property and the rate would be based on usage, as it is in the rest of the city.


Estimates are that the decrease in maintenance expenses would offset the bond repayment costs, said Robyn Mattison, public works director. The city is eligible to apply for a loan of up to $450,000 from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to convert users onto the city system and install water meters. Under Idaho law, the loan must be in the form of a revenue bond and must be repaid entirely from fees charged to water users, Mattison said. No other tax receipts could be used for this purpose. The 20-year bonds would have a fixed interest rate of 2.75 percent.


While the city would pay for installation of new meters and service lines to the property line, property owners would pay the cost of new or relocated water service lines on private property. Plans are to offer them the option of paying at the time of construction or over time through assessments.



Betsy Mizell, an outreach associate for the Idaho Conservation league, has been named to the Ketchum Planning & Zoning Commission for a three-year term beginning this month. She replaces Deborah "Burnsie" Burns, whose term has expired. (See earlier story.)


Mizell has worked in Idaho since 2013. She previously implemented a sustainability plan for the Weir River Garden in Hingham, Mass., and was an environmental education and agroforestry extension agent with the Peace Corps in Cameroon, West Africa.



While earning her B.A. at New England College, she was an intern in the sustainability department of Aspen Skiing Company in Snowmass, Colo., and with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She also was president of the school's Environmental Action Commission and recipient of the New England College Community Service Award.


"Her experience with sustainable land use planning coincides with many of the goals in the 2014 Comprehensive Plan," Mayor Nina Jonas said in making the appointment. "She will add diversity to the expertise and age range of the commission."


"The Where and Why of the Local Option Tax" appeared in the Feb. 27 city enewsletter. This infographic shows the specific services funded by the LOT over the past five years and how they have improved our community. In Idaho, resort cities can have a local option tax, permitted by the legislature in recognition of the fact that large numbers of visitors place an added burden on city services.

2014.07.17 Mayor Nina Jonas
Jennifer L. Smith, director of parks & recreation department

Coming Up at Public Meetings: Bike-Share, Zoning Laws

The City Council will discuss a possible bike-share program for Ketchum at its regular meeting on Monday, April 6, at 5:30 p.m. Two additional special meetings have been scheduled. On Monday, April 6, at 4 p.m., Council will hear requests for funding in FY 2015/16 from city boards and commissions and Mountain Rides. On Friday, April 10, at noon, Council will hold a workshop with Visit Sun Valley to discuss its marketing strategy. This meeting will be held in the lecture room at The Community Library. The Interim Zoning Ordinance will go before the Planning & Zoning Commission on Monday, April 13, at 5:30 p.m.


Apply Now for City Job Openings

The street division of the public works department has openings for an administrative assistant and an equipment operator.  


Ski Season Ends Sunday

Ski season comes to an end Sunday, April 5, with festivities all day at the Warm Springs lift area. There will be music at the Lookout Lodge from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at the Warm Springs Lodge. Those who can't quite cope with the mountain's closing can watch the final races in the Western Region Spring Series on Monday, April 6, on the Greyhawk and Warm Springs runs.


Holidays Are Over, So Turn Off the Lights

Holiday lights must be turned off on all trees in the city by April 15 under Ketchum's Dark Skies ordinance. In addition, lights must be completely removed from all publicly owned trees.


Take County GIS Survey

Blaine County is conducting a survey on the ease and types of use of the county's online geographic information systems. You can participate in the GIS survey here.


Pickleball Is Here!

The Parks & Recreation Department has purchased pickleball equipment for the summer youth recreation program. It will be kept in the department offices at Atkinson Park, and others may use it upon request. "We are testing its popularity and will purchase additional temporary setups if there is sufficient demand," said Jennifer L. Smith, director of parks & recreation.


New Community Service Officer for Ketchum
Colin Stelma has joined the Ketchum Police Department as a community service officer. Born and raised in Sun Valley, he has lived in the area for more than 40 years. He has served with Blaine County Search and Rescue and Camas County Emergency Medical Services and is a Fairfield volunteer firefighter.


Mentors Talk to Young Ski Racers

A free round-table talk for young ski racers will be at the Community School on Friday, April 3, from 4-5:30 p.m. The panel will discuss opportunities, ideas and career guidance for a successful life following a racing career.


Sun Valley Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday

Take the little ones to a free Easter Egg hunt at Sun Valley Village on Saturday, April 4, at 4:30 p.m.


'Most Successful Living Poet' to Speak

Cowboy Poet Baxter Black will speak at a benefit for the Trailing of the Sheep Festival on Saturday, April 4, at 5:30 p.m. at the Sun Valley Inn. The New York Times describes him as "the nation's most successful living poet."


Learn to Control Weeds

Juerg Stauffacher, Ketchum parks and natural resources superintendent, will be among the speakers at a free Weed Control and Prevention Workshop at the Community Campus in Hailey on Thursday, April 9, from 9-11:30 a.m. Coffee and snacks at 8:30 a.m.


Reminders: Airport Closing, Chip Sealing Schedule

Friedman Memorial Airport will be closed April 26 through May 20 for construction on a taxiway. Chip sealing will take place July 13-16.


City Council 
Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, April 6. 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, April 13 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 Your input and engagement is encouraged. All comments will be reviewed. 
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