Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Group campaigns for LOT measure

Committee says effort would boost tourism, jobs


By EXPRESS STAFF

    A group of citizens aiming to increase tourism and jobs in the community have started to campaign for a 1 percent increase to the local option tax in Ketchum, a ballot measure that will come before city voters in the November elections.
    The group, called the Ketchum Tourism and Jobs Initiative, formed because members believe that increased air service plays a pivotal role in increasing tourist visits to the valley, protecting local jobs and creating new jobs.
    Bryan Furlong, a member of the newly formed group, said he supports the initiative because he believes tourism positively affects small businesses and the local economy.
    “Increased tourism is good for local businesses. It helps business owners to create new jobs,” said Furlong, who works for Zions Bank. “I got involved because I believe the initiative will help improve tourism, and also help the businesses that rely on tourism.”
    Ketchum resident Charles Friedman is also a member of the committee. He said he sees tourism as the backbone of the local economy and he thinks that this effort is critical to keeping jobs in the valley.
    “I know many people whose businesses are directly affected by the number of tourists who visit our valley each year,” Friedman said. “Increasing tourism will help protect good jobs in our community.”
    If the ballot measure to increase the LOT is successful, the proceeds from the extra 1 percent will be used to market direct flights to Sun Valley and to help in contracting additional nonstop flights to Friedman Memorial Airport. The measure was on the ballot in November 2012 in Sun Valley, Ketchum and Hailey. It passed in Sun Valley but fell just short in Ketchum and Hailey.  
    Members of the Ketchum Tourism and Jobs Initiative will be speaking with voters about the initiative at various venues and events in the community this summer and fall, right up until Election Day. The Ketchum Tourism and Jobs Initiative Committee includes Doug Brown, Friedman, Furlong, Matt Gorby, Jed Gray, Holden Morgan, Tom Nickel, Candice Pate and Barry Peterson.
    For more information or to volunteer, go to www.ketchumtourismandjobs.com.




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