I read with deep concern in the July 29 paper that the Ketchum mayor and City Council plan to create an $800,000 slush fund to allocate to their own “preferred projects” outside of the normal budgetary process. The mayor left this little item out of his regular blast email—I wonder why? Given that the discretionary portion of the city’s budget is about $10 million, they are giving themselves license to spend almost 10% of the available funds—anyway they want, and with no accountability or public input. This is local government at its worst. I am surprised that the city administrator would go along with this and that the city legal officer would permit it. It’s the kind of thing I would resign over if in their shoes.
But I am not at all surprised that the mayor and City Council are giving themselves this power. This abuse of proper process and disdain for the will of the electorate has become a pattern for them. This is a group that is far out of touch with our community. This is the gang of five that approved the six-story Marriott despite 3,000 signatures against it. They dispensed with the normal readings of an ordinance to push through a zoning change in a footnote to a table to permit the massive four-story box of Bluebird to be built in an area zoned for retail. Bluebird is a project they know the large majority of the community opposes from the polls in this newspaper. They pushed KETCH as an “experiment”; we now have to live with it. They shifted $80,000 meant for a zoning code re-write to go to a consultant to create a historical preservation list. They put the firehouse in what many of us consider to be the wrong place so they could put low-income housing in the retail zone rather than in the industrial zone. And they still have taken no action to regulate short term rentals, while our neighbors get priced out of their homes by out-of-town speculators.
People of Ketchum, it is time to wake up. Make your voice known to the mayor and insist that he stop governing like this. And remember this power grab when you vote in November.
Perry Boyle, Ketchum