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

March, 18, 2016
In This Issue
A Message From Mayor Nina Jonas

It is pretty clear that the national sentiment towards all things politics is volatile. The populous support of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders speaks to an electorate discontent with the political status quo. It is easy to think of politicians as mythical ghouls changing shapes in order to take what they want. However, politicians are us.
Local representatives are accessible, making them more human than creature. Yet the national political displeasure is trickling down. The four Council members - Jim, Anne, Baird and Michael - and myself are simply Ketchum locals who chose to support the town they love by being "politicians." Professionally we are retailers, a stylist, a journalist and a restaurateur that go to many more meetings than even the most enthusiastic constituent. You trustingly allow us to sit in those meetings, learn the inner workings of your local government and represent you (really us) to the best of our abilities in the protection of your health, safety and welfare.
We are all committed to this representative democracy that places regular citizens in the role of overseeing collective community resources. It is a two way street; it takes both capable politicians and engaged citizens. I encourage you to constructively share your ideas. We are in this together.
Looking forward to hearing from you,

Q.  I am concerned our community has not embraced the "plastic bag/non- reusable plastic" issue. Having seen the coalition from the Sun Valley Film Festival, it seems negligent at the very least that we do not address this issue. I believe I saw a few years back an initiative from the school kids to address this issue. WHY are we ignoring this important environmental effort?

A.  Earlier this week, House Bill 372 was passed and now awaits action from the Governor. The bill prevents Idaho cities, counties and other local governments from banning or taxing plastic grocery bags or other types of single-use containers. The city proactively communicated with our local senator to vote against this pre-emptive legislation. Once the bill was passed, the State of Idaho affirmed that Idaho cities and counties are not independent bodies, we are entities of the state.
Prior to this legislation, I instigated the ban on single-use water bottles on city properties, facilities and events in 2015. Last year, City Council approved a resolution to ban single-use water bottles in those areas, and to encourage the use of biodegradable serving plates, beverage containers and utensils. The resolution also discourages the use of plastic bags and polystyrene foam containers.
It is my hope that our residents and visitors will follow the city's lead.

Q.  Ketchum should convert the 1 percent for air sales tax to 1 percent for municipal facilities to pay for new facilities for city government, and police and fire departments, by amending city ordinance number 1108. With this new revenue, the city would seek a revenue bond for the money to construct the new facilities instead of a 30-year general obligation bond.

A.  The local option sales tax ordinance does not allow use of those funds for this public works project and an amendment must be voter approved. In addition, there are not sufficient and/or guaranteed funds to spend on any capital projects. Revenue bonds must have a guarantee of repayment solely from revenues generated by a specified revenue-generating entity associated with the purpose of the bonds, rather than from a tax.

Multiple funding mechanisms were analyzed; revenue bond, local improvement district, urban renewal agency financing, lease-to-own, local option tax or a two-year override levy. Many of these options do not allow for funding for essential services facilities and/or require voter approval. The city concluded that a general obligation bond is the strongest choice.

A general obligation bond is a debt instrument to raise funds for public projects and is backed by the full faith and credit of the issuing municipality using legally available resources, including tax revenues, to repay bondholders. A general obligation bond finances projects that do not produce income but provide services for the entire community.

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.
The city does not have the financial capability to lease, purchase or construct new facilities and has considered financing options that are listed below. The options described require voter approval, do not allow funding for essential services facilities and/or require a revenue stream.

General Obligation Bond
A general obligation bond is a debt instrument, issued by states and local governments to raise funds for public projects. What makes a general obligation bond unique is that it is backed by the full faith and credit of the issuing municipality using legally available resources, including tax revenues, to repay bondholders. A general obligation bond finances projects that do not produce income but provide services for the entire community.

Revenue Bond
Revenue bonds are secured by a designated revenue stream and finance income-producing projects. They cannot be repaid from a tax. The income generated by these projects pays bondholders their interest and principal. Projects funded by revenue bonds serve only those in the community who pay for their services. Examples would be toll roads or water and wastewater utilities. Essential services facilities do not qualify.

Local Improvement District (LID)
A local improvement district is a method of financing capital improvements that provide a benefit only to the properties within the boundary of the district. Examples are the improvement of a street, building sidewalks and installing a stormwater management system. Essential services facilities do not qualify.

Urban Renewal Agency Financing
The Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency (KURA) is a separate agency and must vote and agree to all funding commitments. Urban renewal agency funding for city hall facilities has been a controversial issue in Idaho for several years. Currently, urban renewal agencies in Idaho are allowed to fund "public buildings," which include city halls. Urban renewal agencies are also permitted to fund studies, plans and infrastructure for public facilities. The KURA has funded the space study for this proposed project. Further funding is discouraged by the agency's attorney as he anticipates impending legislative action may disqualify city halls from urban renewal agency funding.

Lease to Own
The city can legally enter into a contract for a duration no more than one year if sufficient appropriations exist to pay for the contract term in a twelve-month period; unless, for a long-term lease, voter-approval is acquired to authorize borrowing funds to meet the long-term lease obligation. Also, the approval of a long-term lease is not feasible because there is no revenue stream to support it.

Local Option Tax (LOT)
The local option sales tax ordinance does not allow use of those funds for this public works project. In addition, there are not sufficient funds to spend on capital projects. An amendment to the ordinance requires voter approval of 60 percent.

Two-Year Override Levy
A temporary two-year override levy could provide a total of $6,470,250, with an estimated yearly impact of $258.81 per $100,000 of taxable value on Ketchum property owners. The amount is less than is needed for the essential services facilities. However, the city could propose an override levy, exceeding the maximum levy allowance of .004, or a permanent property tax increase, both of which must be approved by voters.

Tours of City Hall are scheduled so citizens can see current conditions for themselves. 
  • 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 participate@ketchumidaho.org . Special tours may be arranged if you are able to attend on these dates.

Rebecca Bundy
Senior Planner Rebecca F. Bundy leaves the city this month after six years of working toward a more environmentally sustainable community.
She helped implement the "green" building code, adopted in May 2012, and in requiring more sustainable practices in new home construction. "This is one of the few mandatory green building codes in the country and one that reflects our community's high construction standards," she said.  Under the code, the city has seen over 60 new homes under construction, or built to silver (and a few to gold), green building certification standards.  These homes are more energy, water and resource-efficient and have healthier indoor air quality than a standard house.
In the commercial sector, the Bigwood Bakery elected to build to recommended commercial green building standards, and the Limelight Hotel is going to achieve, at a minimum, LEED silver certification!
In addition, she helped implement the 2012 energy code, which sets the highest energy efficiency standards in the state. It requires new construction to be approximately 30 percent more energy-efficient than the previous 2006 building code.
She worked to design an expedited process for granting permits for solar energy, encouraging solar installations in the city. Other efforts helped achieve a 20 percent savings on flood insurance premiums for the 148 Ketchum properties with buildings in the floodplain.
Pedestrians will see construction of missing links in sidewalks in the community core next year, thanks to the $180,000 Community Choices grant for which she helped write the application.
"Rebecca has a strong commitment, both personally and professionally, to energy efficiency and sustainable building practices," Mayor Nina Jonas said. "We share her values, and Ketchum is a better place to live today because of her work."
In her private life, Bundy lives according to the same principles she's implemented at the city.  In 2001, she designed and built an energy-efficient, passive and active solar house for herself and her family, she grows her own food locally and prefers her bike to her car.
She plans to return to college and, if necessary, take the few remaining courses she needs to qualify for obtaining her architectural license. She also will work with local architect Susan Scovell, and "we will be designing super sustainable, beautiful buildings together."

EV Station On March 21, the City Council will be given a recommendation to install a solar charging station at the Ore Wagon Museum, an update on the city's progress in meeting city energy conservation goals and an update on ways to incentivize solar installation.

Soon you will be able to charge your electric vehicle at a public parking space after Monday, Mar. 21, when Ketchum City Council considers a charging station at the Ore Wagon Museum. The Ketchum Energy Advisory Committee (KEAC) will make this request during their annual update.

KEAC is recommending the ChargePoint station. It provides medium speed charging for any model of electric vehicle; can handle the elements; tracks and reports station utilization, energy costs and greenhouse gas savings; advertises on digital maps applications and navigation systems; and allows drivers to make reservations. It would also allow the city to bill for the energy consumed.

The city's recreation center at Atkinson Park is another KEAC high-priority project. The city has received a Government Leading by Example grant from the Idaho   Office of Energy Resources (OER) for an energy audit of the building. An Energy Star analysis performed by staff showed the building's energy usage about 58 percent higher than the median usage for a similar building type. Another free, Idaho Power sponsored audit is available to the city that will further analyze the OER audit.

Depending on the outcome of the two free audits, the city could participate in a cost share analysis, building an energy model of the building to calculate the return on investment for proposed retrofits. Twenty-five percent of the fee would be paid by the city and the remaining 75 percent by Idaho Power.

Council will also look at an alternative to an earlier request by KEAC to incentivize solar installations by reducing building permit fees for projects that include them. (In 2015, Council adopted a subsidized solar permitting fee of $100 along with expedited permit processing to incentivize solar installations. Only two solar permits have been issued since then.) The KEAC's request is in the form of a mandate for solar installations on building projects over a certain size (perhaps 2.400 square feet, which is the national average house size). Projects, on sites where solar installation is unfeasible, could pay in-lieu fees that could pay for solar projects on city or non-profit properties to benefit the community at large.

Ketchum is working toward fulfilling its 2030 energy conservation goals:
  • City Operations
    • Achieve 75 percent reduction in energy use
    • Achieve 100 percent renewable energy use
    • Achieve 100 percent greenhouse gas reduction
  • Ketchum Community
    • Achieve 50 percent per capita reduction in energy use
    • Achieve 50 percent local renewable energy use
    • Achieve 85 percent greenhouse gas reduction
The city's benchmarked 2015 energy usage against 2007 is a reduction of electrical usage in city operations of over 35 percent and a reduction in natural gas usage of almost 37 percent.

Matt Wilcox
Wastewater Collections Supervisor Matt Wilcox retires after providing almost 36 years of service to the city of Ketchum.

Wilcox began his career at the city in July of 1983 when he accepted a summer position at the Water Department. His work turned to full time that fall when he moved into the Wastewater Department.

Wilcox's work led him to a supervisory position as he continued to work side by side with his peers to improve the wastewater systems throughout the city.

He started out cleaning and repairing various areas of the wastewater collection system, including groundwater infiltration sites, adding to the effectiveness of the system. His latest achievement was the integration of the city's paper maps of the wastewater collection system into a computer mapping program, again adding efficiencies to the department.

"Matt's deep knowledge of Ketchum's wastewater collection system was a great benefit to me when I first joined the city," said Public Works Director/City Engineer Robyn Mattison. "He has been dedicated to maintaining and improving the system and has helped bring current technology into our department. We will all miss Matt."

What Wilcox has enjoyed most is working with "a lot of great people" over the years and he intends to stay busy.

"I plan on fishing, hunting and visiting with family and friends," said Wilcox of his retirement. "I also have a large list of projects to do around the house, and look forward to having the time to do them!"

Road Masters Three Street Division employees, Ron Domke, Damon Vergel and Justin Ramm, have become "Road Masters," a step up from their previous designation as "Road Scholars." They have completed classes on safety, management, communication and advanced technology in the transportation field through the Idaho Road Scholar & Road Master Program  administered by the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council. City Council will honor them at the Monday. March 21, meeting.
Harriman Square Through a grass-roots community effort in the early 1980s, Harriman Square, referred to then as a "pocket park," was created. Within the Leadville Avenue and Fourth Street intersection sits an analemma, a graph in the shape of a figure eight that shows the position of the sun in the sky at a single location and at the same time of the day throughout a year, as measured by a sundial.

The park was to serve as a community gathering spot for an area that was expected to become a pedestrian mall in the future and named to honor founding father of the Sun Valley Ski Resort, Averell Harriman.

With the development of the city's Heritage Corridor along Fourth Street came the restoration and enhancements to the square. Donations financed the gnomon (the part of the sundial that casts the shadow), making the sundial fully functional.

Royce Milaskey is a local architect who has been involved with Harriman Square since it was first proposed in the 70s. At Monday's City Council meeting, Milaskey will make a presentation outlining the viability of restoring and maintaining Harriman Square.

by Dave Kassner, Chief of Police
Texting When drivers take their eyes off the road to dial a phone number or send a text, a vehicle travels 30 feet per second at 20 miles per hour. At 55 miles per hour, the distance is 82.5 feet per second.

Drivers distracted by using handheld cell phones can pose as much of a threat to safety as drunk drivers, but Idaho laws on "Texting While Driving" make it difficult to protect the public from drivers distracted by them. Ketchum's law would be much easier to enforce, only requiring an officer to see a person using a handheld device.
Given this, it is surprising that the city has received only two written comments on its proposed ban on the use of handheld electronic devices while driving. One person was for it, and the other was against it. An ordinance with safety ramifications as important as this deserves public comment both for and against so the Ketchum City Council can make a decision that reflects the will of the public.
No one spoke at the past City Council meeting, where initial approval was given to an ordinance prohibiting the use of handheld devices except in an emergency. Council will review the ordinance again Monday, March 21, and for the third and final reading at the April 4 meeting.
A University of Colorado study found the following:
  • An impaired driver is 11 times more likely to be involved in a car accident.
  • A driver who is texting or talking on the phone while driving is 23 times as likely to be involved in a car accident.
  • Like driving while under the influence, cell phone use while driving also puts the driver, passengers, other vehicles and pedestrians at risk of injury or death.
  • Unlike drunk drivers, drivers using their cell phone while operating a vehicle do not face similar penalties for causing an accident.
At the Ketchum Police Department, we receive frequent complaints about inattentive drivers on cell phones. Without a stronger law, there is little we can do.
If the ordinance passes, officers would issue verbal warnings for the first year and post signs about the ban at the entrances to our community. Following this education campaign, the fine would be $100. No driver' license or insurance eligibility "points" would be assessed.
The Ketchum Police Department staff agrees this ordinance would be a significant step toward improving safety in Ketchum. Hands-free technology can cost as little as $14.95, and many other states have taken similar steps. 
Please send your comments to participate@ketchumidaho.org or attend the next City Council meeting on March 21 to express your support or concern for the ordinance.


Big Wood Basin Climate Study Complete 
The Climate Impacts Research Consortium (CIRC) funded study on identifying possible strategies for resulting climate change is complete. CIRC selected the Wood River Valley for the study because of changes in climate and the diversity in population; the economic base and land use between the southern and northern areas of the Valley. The study will be used as a model for additional studies through the northwest. The Big Wood Basin Explorer model can be viewed   here 
Want to Work with City?
Sidewalk Work Expected to Begin Soon
The city is currently in negotiations with Galena Engineering Inc. to provide sidewalk and drainage designs for various new sidewalks in the city. Work will include surveying, preliminary design, design, bidding and contract administration, and construction administration.  Public Works Director Robyn Mattison will present a proposed contract with project scope and fee to the City Council for approval at the March 21 Council meeting. 

Top U.S. Ski Racers Begin Competition Here March 22
Top ski racers will be in town for the U.S. Alpine Championships next Tuesday through Saturday, March 22-27. Sun Valley Snow Sports and Guest Services Director Tony Parkhill has called the event "a rebirth of top-flight alpine racing here."

Getting Around at Warm Springs 
Temporary road closures and traffic delays will be happening as we make way for athletes and spectators during the U.S. Alpine Championships.
  • Wednesday, Mar. 23 * 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. * Picabo Street from Gates Road to Jane Lane for Apple's Street Party
  • Thursday, Mar. 24 * 4 to 5 p.m. * Intermittent traffic delays * Fourth Street between Spruce and East avenues for Athlete Parade
  • Saturday, Mar. 26 * 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. * Picabo Street from Jane Lane to Skiway Drive and Skiway to Howard drives
Full event scheduled can be found here . 

Blaine is Healthy County 
National county health rankings from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation keeps Blaine County near the top of the list as the third healthiest county in Idaho.

Democratic Caucus Set for March 22
The   2016 Democratic Presidential Caucus will be March 22 at 7 p.m. at the Wood River High School Campus gymnasium. To reserve a seat, click here.
Planning to Vote in the May 17 Election?
Here are deadlines for voting in the May 17 election on a bond issue for new police, city operations/emergency communications center and fire facilities.
  • April 22 - Last day for pre-registration if you are not already registered to vote. It also is possible to register on Election Day.
  • 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. You may vote at the Old County Courthouse starting April 25, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m to 5 p.m.
  • 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 1st Ave., S. in Hailey, prior to the close of the polls at 8 p.m.
Reminder: Chip Sealing Scheduled for July 11-14
Summer chip sealing of streets is scheduled for July 11-14. Click here for schedule.  
Tune in for Mayor's Radio Talk
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 22, at noon.

City Council 
Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Mar. 21. 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. 28. P&Z meetings are held on the second and fourth Mondays 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 participate@ketchumidaho.org. Your input and engagement is encouraged. All comments will be reviewed. 
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City of Ketchum