The city of Ketchum released its budget proposal for fiscal year 2019-2020 last Friday. This comes as the city grapples with a shortfall in expected revenue for the coming year.
Mayor Neil Bradshaw kicked off budget discussions Monday night by emphasizing “strategic belt-tightening” across the board.
The proposal lays out cuts to internal travel and trainings for city staff, but also to local initiatives, such as a 9% cut in city funding to the organization Visit Sun Valley. The nonprofit markets the area to tourists.
Scott Fortner, Executive Director of Visit Sun Valley, says this may have a negative impact on the organization's long-term initiatives. This includes being able to fully capitalize on opportunities like Sun Valley Resort joining the Epic Ski Pass.
“It just doesn’t bode well going forward," he says. "Especially knowing that we kind of underperform compared to our competitive set in the wintertime."
This past spring, an outside consultant told a Sun Valley Economic Development forum that the area should increase its marketing budget, to catch up to other skiing destinations.
In the short term, Fortner says the organization may have to cut down on customer research projects to study who visits the region, and regional marketing efforts to communities in Boise, Twin Falls, Pocatello and Salt Lake City.
Visit Sun Valley has received $440,000 from Ketchum for each of the last seven years. The budget reduction brings the total down to $400,000. Fortner says the organization is exploring additional funding options, both private and public.
The first public hearing on Ketchum’s budget will be on July 15.
Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen
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