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

July 16, 2015
In This Issue
A Message From Mayor Nina Jonas: What Outside Agencies Should City Fund?

Each year, the city of Ketchum contracts with several nonprofit organizations to accomplish public services that the city does not perform. These include Mountain Rides for public transit, Blaine County Housing Authority for community housing management, Visit Sun Valley for area marketing, Ketchum Community Development Corporation for specific capital projects, and membership with Sun Valley Economic Development for business analysis and recruitment.


There is approximately $1.1 million in the 2015/2016 budget proposed for allocation toward these nonprofit organizations, funding that could go toward a variety of conventional city spending, such as street maintenance, sidewalks, parks and public safety. It is a public tradeoff to fund these agencies, and one of the harder decisions that the City Council and I face each year.


The most significant debate in the proposed budget between Council and myself is the funding levels that should be reserved for the Ketchum Community Development Corporation (KCDC). The KCDC was formed in 2006 to assist the city in implementing the Downtown Master Plan. With funding from both the city and private donors, the KCDC helped complete projects including Northwood Place, Ketchum Town Square, Fourth Street Heritage Corridor and Walkability.


Today, the KCDC's primary project is running the Ketchum Innovation Center (KIC). While innovation centers are typically funded through a variety of partnerships, the KCDC would like the city to be the sole funder of KIC to the tune of $96,000 annually.


This $96,000 covers management costs, insurance, taxes and utilities on an office building that provides space for five start-ups, and a series of presentations on being an entrepreneur from visiting speakers. Most of the speakers have volunteered their time, and none of the budget goes toward rent.


I believe the city should support the next generation of year-round businesses. The KCDC and its KIC project are good investments in Ketchum's future, but I do not believe the city should be KIC's only source of investment.


By now, almost ten years after its creation, the KCDC has the ability to develop strong partnerships with existing businesses, organizations and mentors. It should sustain its own existence by expanding its funding pool to include operational donations, grants, services and partners - the community. The city should not be required to reduce public services in order to be the sole funder of the KCDC.


The city's budget belongs to the tax-paying community. Turning public money over to private agencies, no matter their good intentions, circumvents the public process that assures transparency and accountability. Nonprofit organizations do not have the same state statute requirements as cities do. The public process requires input from the taxpayers of our community and a fair bidding process for various services, which encourages competition amongst developers vying for projects and fosters innovative ideas. The city exclusively funding an agency allows for a process loophole, one in which private individuals can exercise power behind the scenes and beyond the scrutiny of the democratic process.


There is an honest difference of opinion on these matters, and I have a philosophical disagreement between some City Council members regarding nonprofit funding. The city should not be the sole, 100-percent funder of any organization. I have proposed $40,000 of funding for KCDC in the fiscal year 2015/2016 toward their KIC project.


Please come share your funding priorities as the City Council continues budget discussions on Monday at 5:30 p.m.




I understand that the city has discussed removing center-lane parking downtown. This would be very difficult for business. What's happening?
--Chip Atkinson

First, we expect to keep center-lane parking for the immediate future. The city is reviewing requirements for street design as part of its ongoing zoning code update and review of standards for use of the city right of way. Street design standards have not been updated for many years and most Ketchum streets were built before that time. They are simply too small for modern firefighting equipment to maneuver easily and for efficient response to emergency situations.

If streets need to be reconstructed in the future, we will consider removing center parking to accommodate emergency services vehicles. East Avenue and other downtown streets currently are in good condition and there are no plans to reconstruct them. While we always will balance the need for safety against the need for parking, please be assured that we would not make major parking changes without lengthy study and opportunities for public discussion. 

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.
If all landlines in the area failed, how long it would it take to get emergency communications back up and running?
Four minutes and seven seconds in Ketchum, where the city's state-of-the-art communications equipment training session attracted participants from throughout the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in New Jersey.

Participants in the training here included Idaho State Police; Boise, Sun Valley, Wood River,  Stanley and Ketchum firefighters; Stanley Ambulance; the  National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support; and the Idaho Military Division, charged with protecting the governor. The representative of the Federal Emergency Management Agency soon will move to a state agency in New Jersey, and will be able to bring knowledge gained from this training.  


"One of my first goals as mayor was to build a reliable emergency communications network to provide essential services at all times. We now have redundant equipment at various locations, as well as satellite backup," Mayor Nina Jonas said.


"Cities throughout the nation are facing the issue of a lack of national standards for infrastructure. Landlines and public safety mobile radio systems on different bandwidths do not necessarily communicate with each other, for example," she added. "We devoted a significant amount of staff time to this project. Today we have an exemplary system, and are proud to assist other agencies that want to use and replicate our city communications network for training."


Ketchum has three redundant systems, including satellite technology. Equally important is that Ketchum is one of the first places in the country that has built a communications system from the ground up, incorporating voice, data and video technology and separating emergency communications from voice and data lines used for administrative services. Too many other cities are retrofitting legacy systems based on older technology.


Next weekend's Sun Valley Road Rally, benefiting the Blaine County Drug Coalition, will provide another opportunity for emergency responders from various agencies to use the system. The event allows participants to drive as fast as they like over a closed, 3.2-mile stretch of highway north of Ketchum with some reaching speeds of more than 200 miles per hour.


The previous communications challenge for the rally has been that fire and ambulance personnel, the race safety and logistics teams and the sheriff's department have all had radios operating on different frequencies.


"Thanks to Ketchum, we can bring all of our assets together easily this year, " said Sean Tajkowski, network consultant to the city. In addition, it will be an opportunity for the various departments with mutual aid agreements to practice working together.


Another benefit is the ability to reroute communications in a case of a possible equipment failure. For example, when a backcountry rescue team north of town had equipment difficulties earlier this year, it was able to reroute communications through Ketchum. Boise emergency responders also have practiced rerouting traffic from Albertsons Stadium through Ketchum.


One purpose of the recent training at Ketchum City Hall was to give various participants, as well as Ketchum emergency responders, practice in rerouting communications through systems in neighboring communities.


The project, called the Unified Communications Network, is a cooperative program bringing together all public safety agencies. 


mayor jonas speaks at limelight groundbreaking
Construction is under way on the Limelight Hotel, the first new hotel to be built in Ketchum in more than 10 years. Here's what Mayor Nina Jonas had to say at the groundbreaking on Main Street between First and River streets.


Visitors and residents love our city events and the proposed Ketchum budget continues to provide event support and funding. City events will continue, staff assistance in organizing and managing events will be offered, and city support of Visit Sun Valley event marketing will be available. The only thing that must change is direct cash contributions to non-city events.


In order for the city to fund an event, it must be maintained by the city rather than a private business or nonprofit, must take place on public property and must be suitable for people of all ages.


Ketch'em Alive, Wagon Days, the Pond Hockey Tournament and Skate Park Competition are great examples of the city's popular events.


Along with Ketchum's events, about 50 special events take place annually in the city. In the past, some have received money from the city to support their event. Today, the city can no longer provide financial support to special events in Ketchum, following advice from the city attorney that the current system violates Idaho law.


These changes are the result of a request the city made for legal clarification on the assistance it can provide to special events after a security guard was injured at the MASSV concert in 2012.


The Idaho Constitution specifies that no city may "make a donation or loan its credit" to a private company or association. Events may ask to come under city ownership however, if they wish to do so.


This change will go into effect next fiscal year. In the meantime, the city will honor its funding commitments to events such as the Trailing of the Sheep Festival in October and the Wood River Valley Studio Tour, as those resources already have been committed.


Special events are very important to the community and Ketchum's economy. The city will continue to work on all opportunities within its legal boundaries to support events in Ketchum.


sun valley center project could give ketchum public art
A grant to the Sun Valley Center for the Arts will support a project that may result in the installation of sculpture on public sites in Ketchum.

The Warhol Foundation awarded $48,000 to The Center to support an exhibition in Ketchum of photography, paintings and sculpture inspired by Idaho's Craters of the Moon National Monument. The city of Ketchum Arts Commission also has given funds to the project in anticipation of the eventual installation of one or two sculptures here.

Company of Fools, the professional theater company of The Center, received a $10,000 grant from The Shubert Foundation. Press release can be found here.


For those who haven't quite caught on, geocaching is best explained as real-world treasure hunting. Individuals and groups alike can hide or seek various trinkets throughout the world, using GPS receivers, cellular phones or other navigational tools to place or locate caches.  


Geocaching2 According to, there are currently 2,651,008 active geocaches and more than six million geocachers worldwide. Geocaches are expected to contain trinkets such as pins or small toys, and a finder may take a trinket and replace it with a new one.


The Ketchum Parks & Recreation is offering geocaching as one of many summer activities. Youth ages 8-9 can "find the cache and replace the stash" in either the Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday sessions running through Aug. 13. Online registration is available. 


Ketchum's geocaching planner, Poo Wright-Pulliam, who goes by "Poo," said the parks & recreation department has two main goals in offering geocaching.


"We want to encourage more people to visit our city parks," said Poo. "We also want the kids to learn how to use a GPS and how to treasure hunt -- which I think is very exciting myself. A lot of the caches also help teach lessons about local history."


One local cache can be found in the River Run area and teaches about the Union Pacific Railroad. Another takes a closer look at the Pegram Truss Railroad Bridge, located south of Ketchum and reportedly one of 12 Pegram Truss bridges in existence. The design, patented in 1965, made it easier to move the bridge to a new location and adjust it to fit a span of a different length.  


Each cache is rated according to difficulty of finding it, terrain and size. Additional hints also may be offered if the location is a bit more difficult.  


Geocaching can be a family-oriented activity, allowing parents and their children to explore and learn together.


Geocacher Ellis Mallett
One parks & recreation geocacher, Ellis Mallett, said, "Finding the geocaches is my favorite part. I also like having my family help try to find them."


Another geocacher, Alexandra Stelma, enjoys discovering some of the bigger geocaches since it is easier to see what is inside.  


The city Summer Youth Activity Program is more than 40 years old. It currently provides more than 300 children with fun and challenging summer activities that take place at local parks and regional recreation areas.


donors contribute $23,444 to city Parks & Rec Department
Donors contributed $23,440.86 from April through June to programs in the city parks and recreation department. The Jazz in the Park Trust Fund received $3,000 from Wood River Fine Arts, LLC, $500 from Howard and Jackie Banchik and a total of $1,000 from two anonymous donors.

The Ketch'em Alive Trust Fund for the summer concerts received donations of $1,500 from the Limelight Hotel/Aspen Skiing Co., $1,190.86 from The Springcreek Foundation, and $1,000 each from Atkinsons' Market, Barry Peterson Jewelers, Hailey Orthopedics and Sports Medicine and High Country Resort Properties.

The city of Ketchum Arts Commission received $2,500 each from Lee Gilman Builders and Jack and Elizabeth Bunce for the Cover Art program for utility boxes and a $2,500 in-kind donation from Windy City Arts.

The Chuck Gates Youth Golf Endowment Trust Fund gave $3,000 for youth golf programs.

The Campfire Foundation donated $1,750 to the youth recreation scholarship fund.

Donations to these and other city programs are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law and may be earmarked for trust funds for specific programs. For additional information, contact Jen Smith, director of parks & recreation.

turn sprinklers off from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Summertime and hot weather increase the use of city water, especially when people are not following city ordinance. City water users may not spray irrigate lawns and gardens between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., from June 15 to September 1. Exceptions may be made for new plantings or drip systems that minimize evaporation. Help us enforce this very important law. If you see daytime sprinklers running at a vacant building or a neighbor who fails to respond to a gentle reminder, please contact Your report will be kept anonymous.
Want to Know More About Limelight Construction Plans?  The first of regular "sidewalk" meetings to update neighbors and others on the Limelight Hotel construction process will be Friday, July 17, at noon on the site. Please meet at the Washington Avenue entry gate across from Forest Service Park. (Be aware that parking is not available on Washington Avenue.)

Business Ski Passes Go On Sale 
Business ski passes, which allow local companies to purchase ski passes that are transferable among employees, are now on sale. Proceeds go to Fly Sun Valley Alliance to support improved air service.  
2014.07.17 Mayor Nina Jonas
Jennifer L. Smith, director of parks and recreation
news at a glance
Ketchum Cruise Comes to Town July 24 
The Sun Valley Road Rally, benefiting the Blaine County Drug Coalition, brings more than 100 cars to town for a five-mile scenic cruise followed by a car show at Town Square on Friday, July 24. Hours are 5-8 p.m. Other participants will get the opportunity to see just how fast their cars can go on a stretch of highway on Saturday, July 25. Please watch Facebook and Twitter for updates on temporary road closures.

Ketchum Votes YES to Protect Animals in Hot Vehicles 
Ketchum City Council unanimously passed an ordinance giving the police authority to remove endangered pets from vehicles on hot days.

Corrected Date on Big Wood River Bridge Construction 
The completion date for replacement of the bridge over the Big Wood River on Highway 75 south of town is late 2017. An earlier newsletter had an incorrect date for the Idaho Transportation Department project.

City Council to Resume Budget Discussions 
The City Council will resume discussions of the budget for the upcoming fiscal year at its meeting Monday at 5:30 p.m. 
City Council 
Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, July 20. 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, July 27 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. 
You are receiving this email because you have requested it or done business with the City of Ketchum in the past. We appreciate our residents, businesses and visitors and look forward to telling you more about Ketchum and receiving your input. To subscribe, click here. If you would like to unsubscribe, please click on the link below.

City of Ketchum