The Hailey City Council heard requests for fiscal 2020 funding on Monday from several nonprofit organizations, including funding that would be used to fight climate change.
Mayor Fritz Haemmerle said during the public hearing that the city budget increases each year by about $80,000 and that increases for one group would likely mean a decrease in funding for another.
“The budget is very tight,” Haemmerle said.
Haemmerle approved a new $19,500 “resiliency coordinator” position and related resiliency committee, at the suggestion of Community Development Director Lisa Horowitz, and in response to public pressure.
“The committee could work if you have people from different backgrounds working together to see what you could actually accomplish,” he said in an interview.
The 10-week-old grassroots Hailey Climate Action Coalition requested the new city position to address the impacts of climate change last month. Rebecca Bundy will be hired to fill the position, taking climate change and resiliency recommendations to the City Council
Sun Valley Institute Executive Director Aimee Christensen requested $1,500 from the Hailey City Council on Monday to write a business plan for an Office of Regional Collaboration that would address energy and food resilience. She offered to contribute to the new Hailey Resiliency Committee. Christensen, who has worked for years on local, national and international levels to fight climate change, said the collaboration could serve to “shift legislation and move it forward” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The proposed Hailey budget calls for a $4,000 contribution to the nonprofit Senior Connection, rather than the requested $5,000. The funding will be used to continue the group’s transportation services, which include physically helping seniors from their homes to Senior Connection vehicles.
Senior Connection Executive Director Teresa Beahen Lipman said the funding would help elders retain mobility in the community rather than leaving their homes to live in assisted living facilities.
“If we can keep people in their homes, it will save on government expenses in the future,” Lipman said.
The Chamber of Hailey and the Wood River Valley has requested $90,000, an increase of $25,000 over last year. Executive Director Mike McKenna touted many events supported by the Chamber, including the Fourth of July celebration, a fiddlers competition and a marketing campaign for Hailey and the south valley. He said in an interview that the funding would be used “primarily for increased staffing.”
Mountain Rides requested $84,700, an increase of $5,950 over the $78,750 received last year. The proposed budget calls for $82,000 for Mountain Rides.
The increase, if it is approved, would be used in part to extend late-night service on the Valley Route two nights per week to 1 a.m. Executive Director Wally Morgus described the organization as a service provider and generator of jobs.
“Mountain Rides lives the city’s mission,” Morgus said.
The council will deliberate further on the proposed budget on July 22.