As a long time former business owner, a Ketchum resident and chair of the Blaine County Housing Authority I would like to encourage everyone to vote "yes" in May for the LOT measures on the ballot in Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley.
Fly Sun Valley and Visit Sun Valley have done a good job of establishing air service and a base level of marketing. Now that these programs have been established and well used they believe they can provide these services for half the amount of tax dollars they currently receive. This allows us to take this 1% LOT tax and use half to help fund much needed housing initiatives in all three cities without raising taxes.
A large percentage of this tax will be paid by visitors and both parts are equally important. Tourism is the most important segment of our economy, but if we can’t house our work force we can’t serve this segment or our local population.
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the LOT should benefit the infrastructure and wellbeing of the RESIDENTS of this valley and NOT line the pockets of airlines or any outside entities. Doing away with the classic chamber of commerce was the first shot by the greedy of the valley to get their hands on tax dollars and ketchum...as usual led this charge....im pretty sure the chamber is deeply buried under the limelight hotel. The LOT is a LIE...pass it on.
"This allows us to take this 1% LOT tax and use half to help fund much needed housing initiatives in all three cities without raising taxes". This appears to be slight of hand to raise taxes, getting the citizens to actually pay for housing. As PB pointed out the visit SV already has 2+ million, unspent, in their saving account.
Tourism is not the main driver or the main employer in the valley, It's construction and it's those people who are paying the majority of any LOT fees,at least in Hailey.
Keith, you should get around more instead of being a host at Knob Hill.
Spot on Dog. You me note: collectively, non profits are the largest employer base in the WRV according to SVED. That’s the price we pay for being all in on low wage tourism. Even construction wages for low skilled jobs have peaked and are coming down at the same time the cost of living is going up.
I don't think there really was another option.
Everyone would like a more diverse economy. But outside of boutique white collar businesses, it's just a really hard sell. Western mountain towns pivoted to tourism out of necessity. Without it, they tend to die long, slow, depressing deaths as the resource extraction that they were based on dries up.
Blaine County is in the middle of nowhere. So why make any physical product for the larger market? Your input and transportation costs just aren't feasible.
The white collar workforce isn't here. If you're trying to get knowledge workers, it's usually prudent to go where the workforce is. Business clusters exist for a reason. It's not like Idaho is known for producing knowledge worker talent either. Ya, there's some small firms out here, but it's a stretch to say you could base an economy around that IMO.
Maybe with remote work, you'll see more white collar business opportunities. But that will contribute to pricing out the current workforce.
I think this is just the reality of mountain living. Mountain towns are by their nature high CoL and have crappy job markets. And the increase in interest by outside money just makes the housing worse.
Let’s say you are correct (and I think you are). Should the local government continue to provide incentives for non residents to make money off of the resodents, in ways that are paid for (at least in party) by the residents? I don’t think so, but that is precisely how Ketchum is run. We have example after example. SVC pays LOT on locals buying ski passes. They pay zero LOT on IKON passes. LOT is intended to compensate locals for the burdens of tourism. Yet Ketchum council wants locals to tax themselves to subsidize tourists. Ketchum Council gave multiple zoning waivers to Marriot, but when a local developer offers 1000 sf of extra affordable housing the city says no. Almost every action of Ketchum council benefits people who don’t live in Ketchum. Even the actions that should do so are done so executed they waste Ketchum taxpayer resources. Fire station with only two stories that could have housed city employees. Destroying the commercial core when other sites were better for low income housing. Rebuilding a 40 year old sewer plant with no analysis of any alternatives (hint:new one could be cheaper—we will never know). And now forcing us to vote to promote tourism if we want workforce housing in a bizarre sort of extortion to keep paying to create a the problem it should be solving. Are they in cahoots? Lazy? Naive? They certainly don’t seem interested in the quality of life for the people they are supposed to represent.
That's fair. I don't think anyone would argue that the booze and restaurant taxes hit a ton of locals in Hailey. It's one thing in Sun Valley and Ketchum, but tourism levels are just way lower down valley.
But I do think they're pretty similar though in that service, construction, and landscaping/snow removal are all extremely dependent on outside money. If that outside money dries up, everyone who works here feels the pain. When the Recession happened, we lost a fair number of construction guys because there just wasn't enough work to go around. Wasn't the stat pre-COVID that almost half of all residential units are not primary homes?
At the end of the day, the economic success of Blaine County is entirely dependent on tourists, second home owners, and retirees. Without that outside money local work dries up fast because there's just no economic engine here.
Ask yourself what that is and if it has to be that way. In the internet age I think it is becoming less and less true. And we could be a magnate for knowledge industry occupations. But we keep doing things like building Marriotts that not only won’t house over 70% of their workers but also will import them from out of the WRV and have them compete with locals for resources (not my assertion; PRG said so). When is enough enough?
I have not seen Mr. Perry at a Sun Valley Air Service Board meeting. I wonder if he is aware that only 45% of the 1% for Air goes to air service, and that not even that actually goes to air service. It goes into a bank account. It is literally just sitting there. That bank account now has over $2.3mm in it. In Idaho, every tax has to have a specific purpose. Taxes are not permitted to go into bank accounts. Where does the other 55% go? To Visit Sun Valley’s $2.4mm budget to keep things sunny and promote tourism. Given that tourism has pretty much doubled in the past 10 years, why can’t they just declare victory rather than asking the locals to tax themselves to pay for this? The other thing that locals should be aware of is that a secret committee to promote a yes vote on 1% for Air has been formed—I am willing to bet that Mr. Perry is a member of that committee. I would be you will see a lot more letters like this from that committee. How do I know about this? I was approached by two different members of it, both of whom receive money from teh City of Ketchum. Where is the IME article on this?
WOW...if this is indeed true this is EGREGIOUS!!! its been a glaring fact that non profit sand these 1 % for air people all drive land rovers....curious for things that "don"t profit"
Keith Perry . . .. Look at today's poll regarding the LOT. 78.9% against it.
Keith Perry / Ketchum
Move the airport.
badger / Hailey
Welcome to the discussion.