Aspen City Council

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The City of Aspen is putting more financial safeguards in place. The move comes after an audit and Tuesday’s City Council meeting. Council wants a closer eye on money, and finances, handled by city staff. A review of what happened during a recent parking scam revealed a number of things. One was the Finance Department turned off a notification system that might have alerted everyone to the parking scam.  Another was City officials couldn’t find a copy of the former parking meter contract until this week. Employees found it after digging through a Truscott storage area.

aspensciencecenter.org

There should be a decision next week about who can move into Aspen's Old Power House. Aspen City Council heard comments from more than forty people at a meeting last night. Council is considering a handful of proposals. The Old Power House was formerly home to the Aspen Art Museum, essentially rent free. After a lengthy hearing last night, Council decided to select a new occupant next week.

AspenSpin.com

A retired Wall Street money manager turned local writer is running for a seat on the Aspen City Council. Andrew Israel says is behind the website AspenSpin.com.  Israel says, if elected, his first plan of action will be to keep city council meetings from going into the early hours of the morning.

Former Aspen Mayor Seeks Council Seat

Mar 6, 2015
Roger Adams

A well-known retired politician around Aspen is taking another run at city council. Former Mayor Mick Ireland says he’s seeking a council seat in this spring’s election. The former mayor says his emphasis will be on moderate, sustainable growth that respects the community’s character with a keen eye on land use and zoning issues.

“We need some more through thinking about our future and we need an alignment of our values with our land use code… and I think we have gotten a little off track.”

Welcome to Valley Roundup, a review of the top news stories in the valley in the past week.

Aspen lost another longtime local in avalanche. And this week marks the first anniversary of the murder of Aspen native Nancy Pfister.

Municipal elections are coming up in Glenwood Springs and Aspen. This year, it’s all mail-in. But in Aspen, you can still vote in a traditional way at two polling places.

Meanwhile, Aspen City Council is countering a citizen ballot measure on development limitations. Will it just confuse voters more?

aspensciencecenter.org

Aspen City Council is taking up what to do with Aspen’s former Art Museum. Council will be considering proposals in the coming weeks. There are five contenders vying for the city-owned building, also called the Old Power House. Council will be reviewing them in a series of work sessions beginning Monday and continuing through March 17th. Some meetings will include a public hearing. The City says its possible Council may decide not to go with any of the five.

Mountain Edition - February 12th, 2015

Feb 12, 2015

Welcome to Mountain Edition.

Once again, Aspen will play host to the First Lady. Michelle Obama is expected to be in town this weekend.

An Aspen teenager arrested and taken down by police officers gets an attorney. Police suspect the teen had marijuana.

Aspen City Council supports an affordable housing project from a prolific landowner. But, a tree nearly derails the approval.

The new Airport Director in Aspen talks about plans to improve the experience of flying into the Upper Valley.

Your Morning News - February 11th, 2015

Feb 11, 2015

Aspen Development Proposal to Go to Ballot

The Aspen City Clerk says a proposed charter amendment about development in Aspen will be on the ballot this Spring. That follows the collection of enough signatures by Aspen residents. Ballots for the mail-in election will go out in the spring. Election Day is May Fifth.

Mountain Edition - February 5th, 2015

Feb 5, 2015

Welcome to Mountain Edition.

With a measles outbreak in several states, more parents in Pitkin County are getting their kids vaccinated.

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority will consider making it easier to comment on a controversial access plan.

The starting bell rings for candidates and ballot measures in Aspen’s May Election.

Snowmass Village starts reviewing proposed changes for Base Village.

We tally up just how recreational pot shops are in the Roaring Fork Valley after a year of legal retail marijuana.

Elise Thatcher

A City of Aspen parking ticket awaits an errant driver.Credit Elise ThatcherEdit | Remove

Over the holidays, every parking space in downtown Aspen filled. The busy time brought record numbers of visitors and headaches for drivers. The complaints prompted a conversation at City Hall about how to fix parking problems. Aspen Public Radio's Elise Thatcher reports.

The city sales tax report for 2014 is in. It appears the Aspen economy has more than rebounded. Aspen Public Radio’s Carolyn Sackariason reports.

People in Aspen shopped more, drank more, ate more and consumed pot more in 2014 than the previous year.

That’s according a recently-released sales tax consumption report, which shows economic activity within the city of Aspen last year is up 10 percent over 2013. That amounts to nearly $624 million in commerce.

Your Morning News - February 4th, 2015

Feb 4, 2015

Spring Elections Starting to Ramp Up

Municipal election campaigns in towns on both ends of the valley are in full swing. In Aspen, yesterday marked the beginning of election season. It was the first time nominating petitions could be picked up by potential candidates. They need 25 signatures from registered city voters to make the ballot.

As of 5 p.m. yesterday, only city planning and zoning commissioner Keith Goode had picked up a petition. He will run to fill one of two City Council seats that are open. They are currently held by Adam Frisch and Dwayne Romero. The mayor’s seat, held by Steve Skadron, is also up for grabs. Frisch and Skadron have said they plan to run. Romero is still considering it.

Aspen City Clerk Linda Manning explains why the dates for submitting petitions changed this election.

“The nominating petition period has been extended to longer than what is normally expected. In the past elections, potential candidates wouldn’t pick up their nominating petitions until April. For this election, because it is a mail ballot election, all of the dates get pushed forward. So the nominating petitions starts today, Feburary 3, and at council’s direction, will be extended until March 9.”

In Glenwood Springs, the ballot has been finalized for this spring’s election. It includes eight candidates. Two out of four open seats will be contested. Planning and Zoning Commission Chairwoman Kathy Trauger, former Aspen Councilman Tony Hershey and West Glenwood resident Kathy Williams have declared their candidacy for the at-large seat. In addition, there will be a three-way race for the Midland Ward 1 seat currently held by Ted Edmonds, who is running for re-election. He is being challenged by Steve Davis and Rus Arensman.

The other two seats that are up, in Wards 3 and 4, look to be uncontested. The incumbents are Todd Leahy and Mike Gamba.

The election in Glenwood Springs will be held April 7th. In Aspen, ballots will be counted on May 5.

Your Evening News - February 3rd, 2015

Feb 3, 2015

Lance Armstrong Cited for Hitting Parked Cars

A former pro cyclist is expected in court soon following two tickets issued for allegedly hitting two parked cars on Aspen’s west end in December, leaving the scene and trying to get his girlfriend to take the rap. The Aspen Police Department says Lance Armstrong concocted the story because he didn’t want to attract media attention. Anna Hansen is not expected to be charged after recanting her false statements to police. The Aspen Daily News reports Armstrong has hired Denver attorney Pamela Mackey. She represented NBA star Kobe Bryant in the 2003-04 sexual assault case he was facing in Eagle County. Armstrong has not spoken to authorities about the incident. It happened after he attended a party at the St. Regis, where he reportedly consumed alcohol.  Armstrong is expected in court on March 17th.

Your Morning News - February 3rd, 2015

Feb 3, 2015

Aspen Talks Health & Human Services Funding

Aspen City Council continued a conversation last night about funding health and human service organizations. Right now, the City doles out $400,000 annually to various charities.

The council’s conversation centered around whether additional dollars should be pulled from another pot of money and if the method currently used for choosing worthy organizations should continue. Right now Pitkin County decides where the money goes.

Mayor Steve Skadron suggested pulling additional dollars from a tax dedicated to the Wheeler Opera House.

“This is how I think it should go: should new incremental money come into our pool of contributions, I believe that money should have a focused outcome. I think the focus should be on uniquely Aspen problems.”

He’d like to support seniors in need, substance abuse, mental health and suicide. The conversation will continue later this month, when councilman Dwayne Romero is present.

Your Morning News - January 30th, 2015

Jan 30, 2015

Garfield County to Online Auction Surplus

Garfield County hopes to make some extra cash from surplus equipment like cars or furniturde. The County is in its first round of an online auction for no-longer needed items. Chief Procurement Officer Jamaica Watts explains that Eagle County and other comparable governments are already using the service.

“The public can go on and register, they can put in bids, they can put in proxy bids. We can actually watch it in real time and know what’s going on. It’s kind of like eBay.”

Garfield County can also make sure the price doesn’t go below what the items are valued at. Officials believe this will be more affordable, effective and transparent than the previous method of storing items for long periods of time, and selling at a regular auction.

Setting it up online is technically free, but does require staff time. Buyers also pay an additional 10% of the price to the County. Garfield County is in the middle of its first auction. Watts says the response has been bigger than expected, so far, with multiple bids for several vehicles.

Your Evening News - January 29th, 2015

Jan 29, 2015

Frisch Seeks Re-Election to Aspen Council

Adam Frisch announced yesterday that he plans to run for re-election this spring for a city council seat. Frisch, who is 47, first ran for the four-year term in 2009. He lost that election but won in 2011, garnering more than 45 percent of the vote. Nominating petitions, which require 25 signatures for a candidate to make the ballot, are available beginning Tuesday. Former housing director Tom McCabe also has announced his candidacy for a council seat. Current mayor Steve Skadron and former councilman Torre have said they plan to run for the two-year term. The election is May 5.

Mountain Edition - January 29th, 2015

Jan 29, 2015

Welcome to Mountain Edition.

Warm temperatures are boosting river levels and disappointing skiers. We’ll tell you what’s ahead in the forecast.

Low oil and gas prices are good for consumers but tough on companies drilling in Western Colorado.

Despite an oil and gas slowdown, a new analysis shows hundreds of spills are still being reported.

Aspen residents are gathering signatures to get a measure on the ballot that would require voter-approval of some development projects.

Your Morning News - January 29th, 2015

Jan 29, 2015

Petition to Control Aspen Development Gaining Signers

A group of Aspen residents gathered at a private home last night to sign a petition about controlling development in town. If it gets enough signatures approved, the proposal would go on the May ballot. It would require voter approval on any new development that doesn’t follow the land use code. Participant Doug Wilson explained why he believes it’s a good idea to keep exceptions to a minimum.

“In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s we worked really hard to come up with the building code that we have today, and it’s made the town retain so much of it’s delicious nature and I’d like to maintain that in the future.”

Wilson is one of a small army of people gathering signatures around town to support the ballot measure. As of last night, they had about five hundred. Bert Myrin worked with about 10 people to put together the proposal. While hosting last night’s event, he said preventing exceptions would level the playing field for developers and residents.

“It’ll create a less divisive community, because everyone will know what the expectations are for the size of the box and the impact it’s going to have on the neighborhood.”

If it’s up to voters to focus on exceptions, Myrin believes that allow City Council to focus on other important issues.

Organizers hope to submit a thousand signatures next Tuesday. Election officials require about three hundred to put a measure on the ballot.

In response to the proposal, Aspen’s City Council is looking at whether to change the land use code before the election. Mayor Steve Skadron said in a heated discussion Monday that he opposes having voters decide what development is appropriate in town.

Your Evening News - January 26th, 2015

Jan 26, 2015

Sick Mountain Lion Put Down in Carbondale

The Carbondale Police Department says it put down a sick mountain lion this past weekend. The department says it received a call that the big cat was lying under the bridge on North Bridge Drive on Saturday afternoon. The Tom Cat was about a year or two old and could only move its head. After contacting the Division of Wildlife, the cat was put down. The mountain lion was not believed to be suffering from a communicable illness. It was mangy, malnourished and had sores over its body. The Carbondale Police say the cat could have been hit by car. The department reminds motorists that if they hit an animal in an accident, they should notify their local police.

Mark Hunt's Proposal to the Aspen City Council

Downtown Aspen developer Mark Hunt will go before City Council tonight to take one of his affordable lodge proposals off the table for at least a month. Hunt will also ask for approval to build the other. Aspen Public Radio's Carolyn Sackariason has more.
 

Last week, Hunt held a question-and-answer session and was met with a fairly warm reception on his lodge plans. Tonight, it may be a bit cooler. Some council members are critical of the exceptions Hunt is asking for in order to build the lodge on Cooper Avenue. He is seeking relief from the city of Aspen’s land use code to take parking off site.

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