American Robin, Turdus migratorius 

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

March 4, 2016
In This Issue
A Message From Mayor Nina Jonas: A Change of Seasons

I saw robins this week! It is hard to believe our big el Niño winter is coming to an end; it was a delight seeing ski tracks down southern slopes for the first time in years. The big storm has passed, the days are longer and spring skiing is here along with many city projects.
For the first time in over half a century the U.S. Ski Team will have their Alpine Championships on Baldy! This thrilling event will be held March 22 - 27 with promises for an excellent spectator experience.
The number of planning applications and building permits passing through city hall indicate a positive trend in construction expectations with numbers already expected to meet or exceed 2015, which included the Limelight hotel.
On May 17, Ketchum voters will express their level of support for new essential services facilities for police, administration and fire. The special bond election, along with the primary election, will be held Tuesday, May 17, at Hemingway Elementary School from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., or before by absentee ballot beginning April 1.
Signage and maintenance of public access trails to the rivers and hillsides will be installed late spring. The program has been dubbed "Happy Trails" and has recently received additional funding from American River's "Connecting Communities to Rivers" grant program for trail signage.
This summer, with the assistance of Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency funding, the city will be installing sidewalks and streetlights along the west side of Warm Springs Road from Sixth to Ninth streets. In addition, aside from sidewalk maintenance, the city has funding to complete two to three new sidewalk sections throughout the community core. The city will also finalize engineering designs for sidewalks and streetlights that will be constructed with the Community Choice grant monies coming in 2017.
It is heating up, and with the coming seasonal change there will be a lot of activity.

It is an honor to serve you.


How many additional employees will you add to the fire and police departments with the new building? Will there be additional city employees needed to staff the new city hall? How much will the additional costs be to maintain the new buildings; cleaning, utilities, etc.? How will these additional costs be paid?
--Ed Sinnott

There are currently no plans to add employees to the fire and police departments or city staff. Eighty percent of the space requirements reflect what is necessary to support current operations adequately. The remaining 20 percent allows room for
anticipated growth over the next 50 to 70 years.  
With regard to maintenance costs, we expect maintenance costs to be comparable to what we pay today. The buildings will be more efficient and easier to maintain, reducing energy, water and equipment costs. Annually, we spend approximately $60,000 to $75,000 on repair and maintenance of the current building and systems. We believe this sum will cover maintenance costs for the proposed new buildings.

If we remain in the current building, we will need to make significant improvements. The roof, exterior stairs, network room air conditioning units and front windows all need to be replaced. We anticipate other expenses as the building continues to age.  
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.
City Council Monday will discuss utilizing two city-owned properties in cooperation with the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency (KURA).

The sites are at Washington Avenue/Second Street and Leadville Avenue/Sixth Street.  
A KURA site at First Street is currently rented to the Limelight Hotel for construction. Attachment 5.1 of KURA's 2010 Plan (the Plan) calls for 25 community-housing units and 24 market-rate housing units to be built on this site. To accommodate the number of units specified in the Plan, it is likely that the KURA would need to partner with the city of Ketchum on the adjacent lot, currently being used as public parking.  
The lot at 6th and Leadville is owned by the city and also used for parking. The Plan calls for it to provide 12 community-housing units and 10 market-rate units.
KURA has suggested that the city join with it in seeking proposals for both locations, as state law gives urban renewal agencies more flexibility in developing properties.
State law authorizes an urban renewal agency to sell property under a "reuse-appraisal" process, which allows the price to be based on an agreed-upon future use. If the City Council acts alone, it would be required to sell the property to the highest bidder at auction. By working together, the two entities expect to sell the property at a lower price, giving developers a construction incentive. The city and KURA could also arrange a long-term lease to a developer. 
If City Council agrees, the KURA and the City would enter into a memorandum of understanding or letter of intent to define the relationship and process.  The KURA suggests a timeline of at least 18 months to conclude the request-for-proposals process for both locations and select a developer.

This year's good snow year has contributed to an unusually large pile of snow at the city's current storage site at River Run. The River Run location, generously leased to the city by Sun Valley Company, has been in use for more than 20 years. However, the city continues to explore locations for storing snow rather than the River Run site.
Snow Pile
When the city annexed the River Run property in 2010, Sun Valley indicated that it expects to develop the land at an unspecified future date. It agreed to give the city at least two years notice before ending the lease on the snow storage site.
Although leasing state-owned land in the Ohio Gulch area south of town appears to be the best alternative, the increase in operational costs would be significant. Additional development, increasing the property tax base, would be required to make it financially feasible.
The Idaho Department of Lands has said it will consider leasing property near Ohio Gulch to the city for snow storage. While the annual cost of $800 an acre is reasonable, the distance from Ketchum would result in higher costs and less efficient snow removal.
Right now the city budgets $145,000 a year for trucking snow to the storage area. It would take about three times as long to make a round-trip to the Ohio Gulch site and even longer if there is traffic congestion. This would raise the cost to approximately $450,000 a year for trucking and possibly as much as $520,000.
Another concern is that the city already contracts with virtually all the available trucks in the area for snow removal. If the driving time is tripled, it is questionable whether enough trucks would be available to maintain the current level of service in removing snow from streets.
The Ohio Gulch site also is a capped landfill, meaning that it is designed to prevent liquids from seeping into the ground water. It is unclear whether it is feasible to store the volume of snow collected from Ketchum on a capped landfill or whether this would create additional environmental issues. Idaho Department of Lands may have another site, an un-capped landfill, that could be a possibility.
The city needs at least five acres for snow storage. Several factors affect the exact amount of land needed, including the configuration and grade of the site.
The city has explored a site behind St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center , which is too small, and a site on Trail Creek Road on U.S. Forest Service land. Although Trail Creek is closer than Ohio Gulch and would reduce trucking costs, the road to the site would have to be plowed, and it is close to Trail Creek, a tributary of the Big Wood River. Also, extensive environmental assessments are required to use federal land.

Melting snow running across the roadways are keeping the Ketchum street crews busy. What comes with a great winter with lots of snow? Pothole filling!

Pothole repairs are under way throughout the city. The Ketchum Street Division has already placed about six tons of patching materials. Two crews are working almost every day using both cold patch and hot patch methods in order to keep up with the rapidly appearing potholes.
Main Street and Sun Valley Road are state highways and are the responsibility of the Idaho Department of Transportation. They also have started patching potholes.

City Council will discuss a possible ban on Japanese yew and related plants that are poisonous to animals at its meeting on Monday, Mar. 7.
The unfortunate and unintended occurrence of several fatal elk poisonings in the Wood River Valley caused by the animals' ingestion of the poisonous Japanese yew plant (Taxus cuspidata) is of great concern to Valley residents. Blaine County has moved to outlaw this decorative evergreen landscaping plant, as well as two others in the Taxus genus. The city of Ketchum is similarly contemplating the issue.
The Council discussion will include a debate of tools available to the city, and their merits and challenges: rule enactment and enforcement, education and outreach, the city leading by example, the do nothing option, and other considerations and hybrid options. Identification of the overreaching desired outcome of preventing such avoidable and unintended killing will guide the conversation.
No cases of poisoning have been reported in Ketchum, and no plantings of poisonous yew have been identified to date, according to City Arborist Jen Smith.
City and county staff members are available to help residents identify yew and other potentially poisonous plants. For assistance, contact

Josie It was a long journey - both literally and figuratively - for Josie Duesterhoeft, who is working as an intern in the Ketchum Police Department for a month.
Duesterhoeft is from Magdeburg, the capital of Saxony-Anhalt in East Germany. It is known to history buffs as one of the most important cities in medieval times and the place where Otto I, the first Holy Roman emperor, is buried.
She first dreamed of being a detective as a child. In her teens she switched her focus to opera and then to mathematics. Along the way, she took a break to work as an au pair in Seattle for 13 months. She was still trying to decide on a career when her mother reminded her of her original dream.
She currently is studying at the University of Applied Police Sciences in Rothenburg, Germany. One of the requirements is an internship. She asked Caroline and Steve Hobbs, the family for whom she had been an au pair, for help. It turns out that they now live next door to Police Chief David Kassner, who found a way for Duesterhoeft to volunteer here.
So far Duesterhoeft has been on the tour of City Hall and patrolled with Sgt. Michal Grigbsy, a former detective. She's found some differences. In Germany female officers must always work with a male partner. Germany makes it illegal to leave a car idling, but there is no mechanism for enforcement. The fine for using a cell phone while driving is about $100. If there are too many violations of this and other laws, you can lose your driver's license forever.
One of her best experiences so far? Picking up a lost dog and calling the happy owners to say their pet had been found.

The proposed bond issue for the May 17 ballot is for $23.1 million. The construction cost for two new buildings to house
police, city operations/emergency communications and fire is $16.7 million.

The remainder of the costs go towards often overlooked "soft" costs such as architectural and engineering fees, demolition of the current City Hall, relocation expenses, utility and infrastructure cost, bidding contingencies, construction contingency, etc. "Soft" costs are typically a third of total constructions costs, and the proposed Ketchum project follows this formula.

The anticipated range of municipal bond interest rates is from 2 percent to 6 percent per year for a 20-30 year loan. Click here to view the ordinance and ballot language.  
Police, emergency communications centers and fire facilities must be secure buildings such as an airport or jail. The provisions for extra security mean that the cost per square foot will be higher than for a typical office or industrial building.
Here is a chart showing recent constructions costs in the area:
Tours of City Hall are scheduled for the next three months so citizens can see current conditions for themselves. Tours schedule:
  • March 10 at noon
  • March 16 at 4:00 p.m.
  • March 24 at 5:00 p.m.
  • March 30 at noon
  • April 7 at 4 p.m.
  • April 13 at noon
  • April 21 at 4:00 p.m.
  • April 27 at noon
  • May 4 at 5:00 p.m.
  • May 12 at noon.
To sign up for a tour or for more information, contact . Special tours may be arranged if you are able to attend on these dates.

The public will have as much time as is needed to discuss options for new essential services facilities for police, city operations/emergency communications center, and fire facilities.
Mass community support must be gained through a ballot initiative before the city can fully commence the project. Citizens will be able to vote on a special election bond May 17 that would provide the city the ability to borrow money to create new essential services facilities.
If the bond issue passes, the city would have funds to contract for architectural drawings and evaluate various locations and budgets.
The city would begin the process by issuing a request for qualifications for an architectural firm. A citizen committee would be formed to arrange a series of public workshops for the community to choose one of the architectural firms. The committee would then recommend one of the firms to City Council. Once the contract was approved, the committee and city would facilitate community meetings with the firm to gain input on design elements and drawings.
"We could have public workshops before the bond issue, but it is fiscally irresponsible to spend general fund money on architect fees and facilitation unless we know the community is committed to the new facilities," Mayor Nina Jonas said.
New Board and Advisory Members at Visit Sun Valley
Sally Gillespie has been appointed by the Sun Valley Mayor and Council to the Visit Sun Valley board to represent the city of Sun Valley. Gillespie, former executive director of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, is a consultant for strategic business advancement.

Continuing Visit Sun Valley board members are Chair Kristin Poole, artistic director for the Sun Valley Center for the Arts; Diann Craven, president of ClearDirection, LLC, and city of Ketchum appointee; Tim Silva, general manager of Sun Valley Resort; and Olin Glenne, CEO of Sturtevants and Sun Valley Mountain Guides.

Mike Wolter has been elected by membership to the advisory committee representing the business/nonprofit sector. Wolter is development director for the Wood River Community YMCA.
Returning advisory committee members are Jack Bariteau, real estate developer whose projects include Auberge Resort Sun Valley; Tom Nickel, owner of The Sawtooth Club; Bob Rosso, owner of The Elephant's Perch; and Gail Severn, owner of Gail Severn Gallery.

Visitor Numbers Continue to Grow 
2014.07.17 Mayor Nina Jonas
Alan Richardson, Ketchum Energy Advisory Committee member
Watch for Top Skiers 
Two major national ski events are coming to town this month. The USSA Freestyle and Freeskiing Junior National Championships run March 10-13 and the 2016 US Alpine Ski Championships, March 22-27.

Mark Your Calendar for Summer Chip Sealing
Mark your calendar for summer chip sealing, scheduled to take place from July 11-14. Click here for schedule.  
Check City Financials
Want to keep tabs on how the city is spending its money? Check the financial reports online here.
Early Voting Ends Friday
Early voting for the March 8 Republican & Constitution Party Presidential Primary is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Blaine County Courthouse. Voters may request absentee ballots online here or by calling the Blaine County Election Office at 788-5510.
The Democratic Party will hold a caucus on March 22.
Texts to 911 Now Possible 
You can now text an emergency message to 911 in Blaine County. Although the Emergency Communications Center prefers voice calls, the text service is designed for those who are hearing or speech impaired and for use in situations when a voice call could increase a threat, an injured person cannot speak or a person is in a remote location where cell service is too weak for a voice call.
Use the text system by typing "911" in the "to" field. Enter your name, the type of emergency and your location in the message field. Then press "send." The system is available in Blaine, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln and Twin Falls counties. Service is not available in Custer County. 
Upcoming Meeting Info
City Council on  Monday will take a look at an ordinance restricting the use of cell phones while driving, a strategic plan for the Ketchum Arts Commission and energy initiatives in the city's water division. There will also be discussions on utilizing city properties in partnership with the KURA and prohibiting Yew plants in the city. Council meets at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 7, in City Hall.

Mayor's Scheduled Radio Appearance 
Mayor Nina Jonas talks about current city issues on KDPI-FM Drop-in Radio, 88.5 FM, after every City Council meeting. Her next appearance will be Tuesday, March 8, at noon.

City Council 
Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Mar. 7. 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 
Attend the next Planning and Zoning Commission meeting  at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Mar. 14, in Ketchum City Hall. P&Z meetings are held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. 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 would like to express an opinion, please submit your comments via email to Your input and engagement is encouraged. All comments will be reviewed. 
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