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Stunning Legal Opinion in Ketchum Will Cut Off Public Funds to Popular Events

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In the future, organizers may have to come up with some wild and wooly ways to fund events like the Trailing of the Sheep Festival. - MICHAEL EDMINSTER, BOISE WEEKLY ANNUAL MANUAL
  • Michael Edminster, Boise Weekly Annual Manual
  • In the future, organizers may have to come up with some wild and wooly ways to fund events like the Trailing of the Sheep Festival.
A number of high-profile events in the Wood River Valley will be affected by a new legal opinion from Ketchum City Attorney Stephanie Bonney, which resulted in the city announcing it will no longer pump funds into events such as the Trailing of the Sheep Festival.

This week's Idaho Mountain Express reports Bonney cautioned Ketchum officials they should not longer send public dollars to "private" events, both nonprofit and for-profit. In fact, new Ketchum rules stipulate that to be considered for any funding, events must take place on city property, be free and open to the public, be family friendly, be managed directly by the city or through a contract for services and, perhaps the greatest restriction of them all, funds accrued must go back into city coffers.

The city of Ketchum says in-kind services will still be considered, but outright monetary contributions will be halted if the events don't pass muster, according to the Mountain Express

For example, the city won't give funds directly to this year's Trailing of the Sheep festival, but it will spend nearly $5,800 in city services such as police, fire and street department labor during the event. The city said it will no longer be a sponsor of 10 events, including Rebecca's Private Idaho and the Ride Sun Valley bicycle festivals.

Conversely, those event organizers have the option to submit a proposal to be managed by the city, going forward.