Wednesday, January 15, 2014

City amends Fly Sun Valley contract

New deal does not require organization to repay funds


By ERIC AVISSAR
Express Staff Writer

The Sun Valley City Council passed an amendment Thursday to its contract with the Fly Sun Valley Alliance to remove a provision requiring the organization to refund monies the city has paid.
Councilman Keith Saks worked on the amendment with the Fly Sun Valley Alliance, a nonprofit organization that works to promote commercial air service to the Wood River Valley. The amendment passed by a 3-1 margin, with Councilman Franz Suhadolnik casting the only dissenting vote.
The removed clause in the contract said, “In the event that in the 2013 general election in the city of Ketchum, Idaho’s voters approve the ballot measure for Ketchum to collect an additional one percent local option tax, the parties agree that FSVA will have adequate funding for the foreseeable future and the FSVA shall repay to Sun Valley, without interest, all monies paid to FSVA hereunder, within a period of six months.”
A proposed 1 percent local option tax to support commercial air service has been passed in Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley.
The FVSA board voted not to sign the contract after it was proposed, as it did not want to take the $31,000 that would be provided and then have to pay it back afterwards.
Suhadolnik told FVSA Director Carol Waller that he thought the council had provided enough money to the organization over the years, and was unhappy with the proposed amendment.
“You’re trying to circumvent what the previous council had passed,” Suhadolnik said. “The thought of the council at the time was that you would have sufficient money, and you got more money than the council anticipated.”
Councilwoman Michelle Griffith gave her strong support for passing the amended contract.
“We’re talking about a service which has already been received,” Griffith said. “So, the FSVA has been working the past six months essentially for free unless we pay the amount we committed for the half-year contract. If we don’t pay that half-year contract, we’re essentially asking the FSVA to start in a hole.”
Councilman Peter Hendricks—who, as well as Saks, was serving in his first meeting as a councilman—concurred with Griffith.
“I think we should pass the contract as proposed because the work you’ve done has been done, and it’s been successful,” Hendricks said. “I’ve been saying for a number of months that we need to reward the successes, and your organization certainly has done that.”
At the meeting, Waller cited the organization’s recent achievements, while still insisting it still needs the support of the council.
“Our recent successes include new regional air service and increased seat capacity,” Waller said. “We’ve had the new San Francisco flight start, and now we have the Q400 and two regional jets serving our airport. Alaska Airlines will run longer this winter, and we are also working to get more air service.”
The contract will now be retroactive, as it runs from Oct. 1, 2013, to March 31, 2014.
Eric Avissar: eavissar@mtexpress.com




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