Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Burns: City should focus on economy

Retailer competing for two open seats on City Council


By ERIC AVISSAR
Express Staff Writer

Deborah Burns

Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission Chairwoman Deborah Burns has filed her declaration of candidacy for Ketchum City Council.
Burns, who has lived in Ketchum since 1979, decided to run for City Council last month, she said. Fellow members of the Planning and Zoning Commission and members of the local business community played a major role in convincing her to run, she said.
Burns owns and operates a clothing store in Ketchum called Burnsie’s.
    “I’m running for office because I’m educated from my role on the Planning and Zoning Commission and I really need to be more involved in the economic policy-making,” Burns said. “I think at the City Council level, you can really affect the whole of the community’s health and well-being more than from the development standpoint.”
    Burns has served on the Planning and Zoning Commission for eight years. She said she achieved all of her goals during her tenure: helping to write the Downtown Master Plan, annexing River Run, approving four hotels and helping to draft the Ketchum Comprehensive Plan, which awaits approval from the City Council.
    “Reaching my goals on the Planning and Zoning Commission was very challenging and rewarding. Now, I feel I can best serve my community in a different role,” she said. “In my experience, living here for many years, I think a healthier economy will lead to a happier community. It just goes hand-in-hand.”
    Burns said that much of her platform is based on strengthening the local economy, especially with a focus on customer service.
    “I am really an advocate for raising the bar throughout the community on customer service,” she said. “Are we really 100 percent effective in letting visitors know we love living here as much as they love coming here?”
    If elected, Burns said her first order of business as city councilwoman would be educating as many people as she can on the benefits of increased airline service to the area. She also said she hopes to eventually bring a hotel to Ketchum. She said she believes the city’s economic growth, vitality and job availability are her biggest long-term concerns.
    “Anybody who knows me in this community knows that I’m absolutely committed to business and committed to this community,” she said. “I absolutely won’t give up on it. I may have had my struggles in business like anyone else, but this is the most special place I have ever desired to live in.”
    Burns and six other candidates are vying for two open seats on the City Council.
Eric Avissar: eavissar@mtexpress.com




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