My name is Bob Buersmeyer. I’m the area market leader for Idaho First Bank in Ketchum, Idaho—a role I thoroughly enjoy for a community I know well and consider “home.”

After 30-plus years of living here, I’ve witnessed countless ebbs and flows to the market, economy, community and climate, so I feel passionate about changes that occur for the positive in our very special area that many people come to because of its rare, unique beauty and incredible lifestyle opportunities. I also pride myself on being aware and sensitive to changes that may affect us adversely. Which is why I’m writing—to provide perspective, logic and support for the air-service local-option tax and how we should reallocate the funds.

To reflect on the history of our area, you may be aware that there was a considerable amount of time previous to 2008 in which the valley was fueled by the real estate construction business and a handful of employers. Unfortunately, a couple of those companies moved their headquarters out of the valley (Smith Sport Optics and Scott) and in 2008 the building/real estate business crashed. Since then, we’ve recovered dramatically with over 60% of the valley GDP coming from tourism, thanks to marketing and flights coming straight in and out of our area from major cities.

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