The Ketchum Rural Fire District should give the city of Ketchum time to play catch-up on its fire equipment and services before the district walks away from its operating agreement.
The rural got the city’s attention when it gave notice that it would cancel its contract with the city and consider going with the city of Sun Valley. If it does, the rural could find itself working out operational kinks during high fire season and the busiest season of the year when the area is packed with visitors.
Before further action, the rural needs to ensure that it will not endanger its homeowners with longer response times or burden them with higher insurance rates if it kicks Ketchum to the curb.
The Ketchum City Council took deliberate steps on Monday to mend the city’s relationship with the rural.
The council discussed aging equipment and a neglected firehouse, matters other councils should have addressed, matters this council could have taken steps to improve a year ago if administrators and the mayor hadn’t kept it in the dark.
The council asked for options for purchasing or leasing a ladder truck to replace a 30-year-old aerial tower truck, one of just two fire trucks the city owns.
Council members chafed at the fact that they couldn’t take action because of lack of public notice. It was also hampered by missing financial information that administrators should have provided and because other information wasn’t made available until late last week.
The council also gave the mayor a lesson in political wisdom. It cautioned him not to alienate the Y, the town’s largest employer and popular community center, by threatening to try to pass a bond issue to build a new fire station in the Y’s parking lot.
Cool heads and smart politics should star in this catch-up game.