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

April 29, 2016
In This Issue
A Message From Mayor Nina Jonas

Nina Color New essential services facilities are absolutely needed. The current "City Hall" on East Avenue houses City Council chambers, the city clerk's office, administration, department head offices, planning and building, emergency network communications, the police station and the firehouse. Space for every operation is squeezed. As Councilman Baird Gourlay argued in 2002: "We've got four departments busting at the seams. We need some action." ( Stahl, 2002).
The building does not offer equal access to individuals with mobility issues. It is insufficient for city operations. Some offices do double and triple duty. Workers are forced to stagger shifts so offices can accommodate them. Space is limited for files. Many are shipped to Boise for storage, and our storage facility there is at maximum capacity. We have begun to digitize them but we are required by law to keep copies of certain documents. Ceiling tiles are falling down because of the weight of data network cables and water leaks coming from the second floor. Ventilation throughout the building is inadequate. Ambient temperatures vary radically causing discomfort and energy loss.
The firehouse bedrooms, utilized for the 24-hour shifts, are in shared common spaces, have no windows and are in poor condition. "Fire engines stored in the aged building have cracked the cement floors of the department garage," (Foley, 2004). The police station is awful, and the evidence locker and armory woefully inadequate. Fifteen years ago, "The department most in need of expansion, Doty said, is the city's police department," (Stahl, 2001). Three years later, Police Chief Cory Lyman reiterated this reality, commenting that the police facility is "horrible" ... "not only too small, it is also inadequately equipped," (Foley, 2004). The need for facilities is real. It is not going away and is only getting worse.
Remodeling the 1974 car dealership building has been considered and the city has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars fixing it, but the building is shifting down and "falling in on itself" ... "The whole building is in questionable condition" ... "It's not safe. It doesn't meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. There are problems with the roof. Problems from the ground floor to the attic. It's pretty bad" ... "It's cheaper to build a new building than to retrofit it," (Meany, 2015).
Discussion of a new city hall started in 2001 and continues today. A revised space study to analyze operational needs was performed last year. That final study and cost estimate was presented to the City Council this past January. In February the Council agreed to place a general obligation bond on the May 17 ballot to ask citizens to fund new facilities.
The 2015 space study analyzed each department's overall needs today and for the next 50 to 70 years. The square footage needs were added up and arranged into cubes. The cubes were assembled to see if they would fit on existing city properties. Two city-owned locations have been proposed: one at the current city hall location on East Avenue for police, administration and network emergency communications and another on city-owned property on Lewis Street for a fire station. These two locations were considered because the city owns the lots. Lots owned by private individuals have not been considered to date. Once financing is secured, non-city owned lots could be considered. The city cannot speculate on properties is does not own or have the resources to purchase.
The purpose of the cost estimate was to give a number for a general obligation bond. The estimate is well researched. Accurate construction bids cannot be acquired until complete designs and construction drawings are available. New facilities will be an expensive endeavor and will be more expensive with every delayed year.
Multiple funding mechanisms have been discussed for years. Options analyzed have included lease-to-own, general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, local option tax, local improvement district, two-year override levies or urban renewal agency financing. The state of Idaho prohibits many of these funding mechanisms for financing essential services facilities. Also, the state requires a "super majority" (67 percent) of voters to approve most of these options. The city does not have a revenue source, sales tax collections are unpredictable, and the majority of the public desires current or increased levels of city services. Given these truths plus the restrictions from the state, the analysis concluded that a general obligation bond is the strongest choice for the future pecuniary management of the city.
The bond would enable the city to borrow funds to construct new essential service facilities for police, city hall and fire. The design and construction timeline is estimated to take three years. When the buildings are finished and the final costs are totaled, properties would be assessed annually. The current estimated property assessment is roughly $50 for every $100,000 of assessed value.
If the bond is approved, t he city would issue a request for qualifications for a team of architects and cost estimators and form a citizen committee. The city and the committee would arrange public workshops to recommend one of the teams to City Council. After the architectural team contract is approved, the committee and city would facilitate community meetings with the architect to gain input on the building designs and locations.
Once designs were finalized, the city would go out to bid for construction. All contracts would be approved by the City Council during public meetings. Also, incentives could be built into each contract to reward work performed on time and under budget and penalize delays
The city has the ability and the will to manage expenses and lower the budget every step of the way. By utilizing bond anticipation notes (BANs), the city will pay for construction step by step, further incentivizing cost savings. When the facilities are completed, the BANs will be totaled up and the bond will be issued.
We, the community and the city, need to act now before conditions continue to worsen and the cost of solving the problem continues to escalate. Former Ketchum Mayor Jerry Seiffert summed it up more than a decade ago: "You can't get into a situation where you need to know everything before you can do anything. You'll never get anything done" (Stahl, 2002).

It is an honor to serve you.


Q. I'm new to town. What advice would you give to a new resident?

A. Always have your sunglasses, water and an extra layer! 

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.
Mayor Nina Jonas, Police Chief Dave Kassner and Fire Chief Mike Elle will make a presentation on the upcoming special election for a general obligation bond to fund essential services facilities, and the conditions at City Hall. The meeting will be held in City Hall on Wednesday, May 11, at 5 p.m. There will be a Q&A and special tour available after the presentation.   

Ketchum's Multi-Million Dollar Trees
                  "I think that I shall never see
                  "A poem as lovely as a tree ..."
                                      Joyce Killmer, 1913

We've all heard the poem that Joyce Kilmer wrote more than a century ago. And while it's impossible to quantify the joy we obtain from poems or trees, we can indeed quantify the economic and health benefits of trees.
As we prepare for our May 6 Arbor Day celebration (see related story below), Ketchum is in the forefront of cities recognizing the value of its trees. The Arbor Day Foundation has named Ketchum as a Tree City USA for the 11th year in a row.
Trees improve property values by providing beauty and shade. They help stabilize streambanks, provide shelter for wildlife, protect animals and property from the wind, and reduce damage from storm water runoff through their root systems. A hundred trees remove an estimated 53 tons of carbon dioxide and 430 pounds of other air pollutants from the environment.
Ketchum, using a software program, has inventoried an estimated 61 percent of the trees on public property in the city. The report so far contains information on 1,942 trees with an appraised value of $2.5 million. Completion of the inventory is expected in 2018.
About two-third of the trees inventoried to date are quaking aspen or Colorado blue spruce. Efforts are underway to diversify the selection, both to reduce the possibility of disease spreading rapidly through a single species and to create a more interesting landscape.
The most valuable tree appraised to date is among those planted in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corp in Forest Service Park. The tree has an appraised value of $23,700.
Here are some fun facts about trees from the Arbor Day Foundation:
  • The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • If you plant a tree today on the west side of your home, in five years your energy bills should be 3 percent less. In 15 years the savings will be nearly 12 percent. Dr. E. Greg McPherson, Center for Urban Forest Research
  • A mature tree can often have an appraised value of between $1,000 and $10,000. Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers
  • In laboratory research, visual exposure to settings with trees has produced significant recovery from stress within five minutes, as indicated by changes in blood pressure and muscle tension. Dr. Roger S. Ulrich Texas A&M University
Ketchum to Plant State Flower, Apple Tree on Arbor Day, May 6
Blooming syringa (Philadelphus lewisii); photo by Brent Miller 
Ketchum will celebrate Arbor Day on Friday, May 6, with a special ceremony at 3 p.m. near the Watch Me Grow Garden in Atkinson Park.
The city received a $300 grant through the "Planting Idaho" program provided by the Idaho Department of Lands and Idaho Power in conjunction with the Idaho Nursery and Landscape Association. The city will purchase and plant several Philadelphus lewisii (known as syringa), the shrub that produces Idaho's state flower, and one Malus species of apple tree.
City staff will teach proper planting techniques and discuss the importance of trees in urban environments with children in the city's after-school program.
An Idaho Department of Lands community forestry representative will present the city with its 11th annual Tree City USA award. Tree City USA is a National Arbor Day Foundation program that recognizes communities that establish urban forestry programs and whose programs provide a high standard for the care and management of trees in the urban landscape. The mayor's proclamation celebrating Arbor Day will be read.

Jeff Vert: Back from Uganda Mission with 'More Than I Gave'
You're thirsty. So you dig in the dirt until water comes to the surface and then you drink the gray-colored liquid.
Life was that way until very recently in Namuganga, Central Uganda - a village so tiny and remote it doesn't appear on Google maps. Today the village has a well with a pump, two sanitary latrines and an orphanage.
Conditions are a little better now, thanks in part to Jeff Vert, lead operator at the Ketchum wastewater plant. He is back from his first trip to help in a tiny village, a two-hour trip by car from Uganda's capital city of Kampala.
The trip was organized by Fathers to the Fatherless International, started by an American citizen who lived on the streets of Kampala as a child. Coincidentally, it was Vert's son Chris who introduced him to the group. They traveled together to Uganda for two weeks of volunteer work.
Jeff and Betty
Chris Vert had met Mathias Mulumba, founder of Fathers to the Fatherless International, when both were living in Grand Junction, Colo. Although Chris Vert has since moved to North Dakota, the story continued to touch his heart.
Mulumba was one of Uganda's 2.6 million orphans. Chris heard him talk about how he joined with other children living on the street and " learned how to survive from begging, eating food that was thrown away, and sleeping anywhere I could find a place to put my head."
Today his goal is to save others from the same fate, giving them "a safe place to live, safe food to eat, good water to drink, a place that they can receive an education, and a place to learn about the God who loves them."
The Verts were part of a medical mission, although neither of them is a medical professional. It was the first time many of the villagers had seen a doctor, and the clinic treated 550 patients in four days.
The most poignant part of the experience for the Verts was the successful treatment of Olivia, a child with a congenital heart defect identical to one that could have caused the death of Jordan Vert, Chris' younger brother and Jeff's son. Jordan had the same surgery when he was 15 months old. It was so successful that he thrived and competed in athletics, placing fifth in the state in wrestling his senior year in high school.
In Uganda, the situation is quite different. There is no health insurance, and doctors and hospitals typically require advance payments. The cost was $4,500, a huge sum in Uganda where the average annual salary is $1,400. Thanks to an online funding campaign, donors raised the necessary funds for Baby Olivia in less than a week.
Jeff and Chris Vert with Panina
The Verts' first task was to sort medical supplies, and then to build shelves for the supplies and furnishings for the orphanages. Building these things was not as easy as it seems, as there was no available wood. Finally they found a fallen tree and hired someone to cut it into appropriately sized planks free-hand with a chain saw.
Education, like medical care, also is an expense to the families, and Vert hopes his trip will inspire more people to contribute the $425 a year that will provide schooling, meals and clothes for a fatherless child.
"I went there to bless them," Vert said. "I walked away with more than I ever gave to them because of the love that they had for us."

Ketchum Chooses Sculptures and Paintings for City Art
"Stacks" by artist Robert Kantor
Five sculptures by Idaho artists will soon be in place on Fourth Street as part of the city's eighth annual Art on Fourth program. Artists were selected in a juried process by the Ketchum Arts Commission. Artists receive an honorarium of $1,000 for lending their work to the city.
An abstract black granite monument, Torrent, by Ketchum's Will Robinson, and Stacks, a steel stack creation by Hailey's Robert Kantor, already have been placed in Town Square.
Hagerman's Gary Mode is lending the city a 6-foot eagle, Freedom in the Wings, made of steel, to be installed at Fourth Street between Main Street and Leadville Avenue.
Benjamin Victor of Boise has created a life-size,bronze depiction of skiing legend Gretchen Fraser, which will stand at Fourth Street between Walnut and East avenues. The late Fraser, who lived here, was the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in skiing.
This piece is one of five life-size, bronze sculptures of area Olympic snow sport medalists that local attorney Brian Barsotti wants to have created. Other sculptures would be of Christin Cooper, Susie Corrock, Muffy Davis and Kaitlyn Farrington.
Dancing Maidens
, a 10-foot steel creation depicting leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree, will be installed at Fourth Street between Main and Washington streets. Sculptor is Teresa McHugh of Dalton Gardens.
Tomorrow Night 
"Tomorrow Night"
In addition, three local artists will lend encaustic paintings for display in City Council chambers for the next year under the Art in City Hall program. Artists are Suzanne Hazlett, Alison Higdon and Sharon Maley. Each of these artists receives an honorarium of $350. All three live in the valley and are known for their encaustic work, which entails using hot wax in the painting process.

The paintings include Tomorrow Night and Verdigris, courtesy of artist Suzanne Hazlett and the Gail Severn Gallery; Rusty Shores, Solace Found and Journey by Alison Higdon; and Spirit, Distant Echo, Aqua Weave and an untitled piece by Sharon Maley. 
Aqua Weave 
"Aqua Weave"
The Ketchum Arts Commission organized and curated both exhibits. Brochures with more detailed information on Art on Fourth, Art in City Hall and the Arts Commission's other projects will be available this summer at City Hall, the Town Square kiosk and adjacent Visitor Center. The sculptures will be on view through the fall.

Noxious Weed Mitigation Begins on City Property
Removal of noxious weeds on city properties and rights-of-way is under way.
Noxious weeds are invasive species, non-native to the ecosystem and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause harm. Common noxious weeds in Ketchum include Russian and spotted knapweed, Dalmatian toadflax, and Hoary alyssum.
Noxious Weeds
                                         Knapweed                                      Dalmatian toadflax                     Hoary alyssum
Mitigation will occur throughout the summer. The city's integrated pest management policy allows various methods of weed mitigation including mechanical and physical methods such as hand-pulling or mowing, cultural such as reseeding, biological such as insects or goats that eat weeds, and chemical such as low-toxicity herbicides.
Ketchum adheres to a strict public notification policy when herbicides are necessary. Signs are posted indicating when and where an application occurs. Professional applicators use a "spot spray" method, treating only the individual targeted plant. Blue dye is added to the spray to further help you identify which plants have been treated. Once the herbicide is dry - usually about 20 minutes after application, it is considered non-toxic to humans and pets.
The city's pesticide-free parks policy prohibits the use of chemical pesticides in public parks, except in the case of infestation.
The Blaine County Noxious Weed Department can assist with identification of noxious weeds within Blaine County and provide strategies for removing them from private property.
Ketchum residents who wish to hand-pull noxious weeds in the right-of-way adjacent to their properties must contact for more information.

Michael Doty: 'Opportunity to Be Part of Solution'
Mike Doty
When Michael Doty retires as a Planning and Zoning Commissioner this month, his 8.5 years of service will have set a record for the city's commission.
Doty, who founded the architectural and planning firm of Michael Doty Associates here in 1993, recalls his thoughts when former Mayor Randy Hall approached him about serving on the Commission.
"I decided that it was my opportunity to try to be part of the solution," he said. "If I didn't take the opportunity, I should never complain again. I knew that several hotel projects would be coming up, and it would be an interesting time to be on the Commission as well as a good learning experience."
It was both interesting and time-consuming as the Commission reviewed the applications for the Limelight and Auberge hotels, Limelight now under construction, plans for development at Warm Springs Ranch and the annexation of River Run. The Comprehensive Plan was updated and rewritten during his tenure, and zoning ordinances are now being revised accordingly.
"I'm fortunate to have worked with both other commissioners and city staff who are good people and have mutual respect for each other," he said. "I don't know that there will ever be as interesting a time again to plan for the future of Ketchum."
"Mike has served on the Planning and Zoning Commission while I have been both a City Council member and mayor," said Mayor Nina Jonas. "I deeply enjoy working with Mike. His professional knowledge as an architect has helped me create stronger decisions for the city. He will be missed."
So what is he going to do with his newfound free time? First, he'll spend more time with his wife, Leanne, " who has been understanding of the time commitment and nothing but supportive throughout my tenure."
A friend recently asked him the same question, and he elaborated:

Free time, let's see ... I have two motorcycles, four bicycles, one set of golf clubs, two pairs of roller blades, a stand-up paddle board, two water skis, a Frisbee or two, several pairs of running and hiking shoes, a tent and sleeping bag, badminton and croquet sets, a basketball, a baseball, a football, snow skis, cross country skis, snowshoes, and some other stuff that I have forgotten that I own, all collecting major dust. Where to start? Any suggestions?"

Mayor Nina Jonas 2014.07.17
Jennifer L. Smith, director of parks and recreation
Absentee Ballot for May 17 Special Election
Here's how to get an absentee ballot, as well as deadlines for voting, in the May 17 special election for a general obligation bond for new police, city operations/emergency network communications center and fire facilities.
  • Early voting is underway at the Old County Courthouse, 206 First Ave., S. in Hailey, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • May 11 - Requests for mailed absentee ballot must be received. Forms for requesting absentee ballots are available here.
  • May 13 - Last day for in-person absentee voting at the County Courthouse.
  • May 17 - Polls will be open at Hemingway School from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Absentee ballots must be received at the Blaine County Election Office at 206 First Ave., S. in Hailey, prior to the close of the polls at 8 p.m.
Support City Programs on Idaho Gives Day
Idaho Gives is a statewide, 24-hour giving day taking place on Thursday, May 5. Did you know that you can make a tax-deductible donation to many city programs, ranging from public art to children's recreation to summer music such as Jazz in the Park and Ketch-em Alive? Your donation can be earmarked for the program of your choice.
Idahoans have raised more than $2.3 million for nonprofits since the program began in 2013. For information about donations to city programs, contact
'Clean Sweep' Scheduled for May 7
Volunteers are encouraged to participate in the 22nd annual "Clean Sweep" program, sponsored by the Environmental Resource Center, on Saturday, May 7. Volunteers will meet at local parks at 9 a.m. to pick up litter in their chosen areas. There will be a free lunch for volunteers with raffle drawings and prizes for the "weirdest items" found.

City Council Sets Special Budget Meeting on May 23
The City Council will hold a special meeting on the FY 2016-17 budget at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 23. There will be no Planning & Zoning Commission on that date.
City Starts Adopt-a-Planter Program
Want to adopt a planter? Select a planter on Fourth Street, and the city will recognize you with an engraved plaque in a highly visible area on the planter. Planters range from 3'x9' to 5'x30' and cost from $276.28 to $345.94. For additional information or to reserve a planter, contact

May is Mental Health Month
This year's theme for Mental Health Month is "Life with a Mental Illness" and will call on individuals to share what life with a mental illness feels like for them on social media with #mentalillnessfeelslike. Click here for more information.

City Welcomes New Employee
Shane Garrison joins the city in the Public Works Department as its new Wastewater Utilities Operator.
City Seeks Planning Commissioner
Ketchum is accepting applications through Monday, May 2 for an upcoming vacancy on the Planning & Zoning Commission. Click here to read qualifications and additional information.
Become a "Fellow" 
The city is offering Fellowship opportunities to gain valuable assistance on city initiatives, inject the city with fresh perspectives and introduce Ketchum to a new audience. Please encourage your friends and family to apply. Click   here for details.  

Ketchum Seeks Legal Services
Ketchum is seeking an attorney to provide legal services to the city. Details can be found here.
Contracts Approved for Jazz in the Park, Ketch'em Alive
City Council has approved $6,000 to support two summer concert series, Jazz in the Park and Ketch'em Alive. Jazz in the Park will run on Sundays from June 26 through July 31, and Ketch-em Alive, in Forest Service Park on Tuesdays from June 14 through Aug. 9. Most of the funding comes from private donations.
What's Next for Harriman Square?
City Council will discuss the future of Harriman Square, located at the intersection of Fourth Street and Leadville Avenue, at its meeting Monday at 5:30. Construction of an analemma and gnomen, which would allow people to determine the time of day using a shadow cast by the sun, was planned in 1983. This and other elements of the square remain uncompleted, and some previously installed elements of the project are deteriorating.
5B Bike Share Comes to Ketchum
Need a bicycle for a quick errand? Or just for a day? Check out Mountain Ride's 5B Bikeshare, now available in Ketchum. Discounts are available for businesses that purchase five or more passes. 
New Firefighters To Be Sworn In
Three new volunteer firefighters will be sworn in at Monday's City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. They are Billy Cook, John Sisko and Peter Wysong.
Home Mail Delivery
Ketchum resident and attorney Amanda Breen is leading a citizen committee to explore the possibilities of home mail delivery in Ketchum. Please complete their two question survey here to give your opinion.
Chip Sealing Scheduled for July 11-14
Summer chip sealing of streets is scheduled for July 11-14. Click   here   for schedule and locations.
Online registration for the Summer Youth Recreation Program is open. Programs start June 15 and include active outdoor recreation such as soccer, swimming, golf, tennis, mountain biking, skateboarding, social games or ball sports, or stewardship and creative activities such as arts and crafts, gardening, birding and geocaching. Optional Friday Adventures offer excursions to nearby attractions and include river rafting, mountain biking and caving.
City Council 
Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 2. 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 meetings at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 9. P&Z meetings are held on the second and fourth Monday's of each month 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 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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