Mountain Rides Ore Wagons

Mountain Rides’ budget is buoyed by federal grants and fares.

The Mountain Rides Transportation Authority board will ask for a little over $1 million in funding from its local partners in fiscal year 2021—a decrease of about 25 percent from fiscal 2020.

Of this year’s funding request of $1,071,900, roughly 44 percent will come from Ketchum, 25 percent from Sun Valley, 15 percent from Sun Valley Company, 11 percent from Blaine County, and slightly over 5 percent from Hailey and Bellevue. Each percentage is nearly identical to last year’s contributions.

In total, Mountain Rides’ fiscal 2021 budget will surpass $8 million, but that includes revenue from federal grants and fares. Between Oct. 1 of this year and Sept. 30, 2021, the agency plans to receive $9.4 million in revenue and spend $8.6 million.

This year’s budget should include a 1 percent merit raise for non-management employees, board members decided during last Wednesday’s meeting.

“That would be about $13,000 or $14,000 for drivers and mechanics, according to my math,” Board Secretary Grant Gager said.

Board Chairman Tom Blanchard was particularly adamant about the merit bonus.

“I think we need to send a message to [employees] in the lower echelons that ‘this is a tough year for us, but we want to take care of you and alleviate some of the economic strain you’re feeling’—an air-hug and a check, so to speak,” Blanchard said prior to the budget’s approval.

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