Aspen alters next year’s public fees

Karl Herchenroeder
The Aspen Times

As part of its 2014 budget, Aspen plans to raise fees for services offered by various city departments, including Parking, Liquor Licenses, Engineering and Golf.

At the Aspen Golf Course, the gold, silver, bronze, junior and 20-punch passes will increase by 3 percent in 2014, which means a hike of $6 to $38, depending on the pass. The platinum pass is increasing by 8 percent, from $2,049 to $2,210. Additionally, greens fees will increase by 7 percent.

In the Parking Department, commercial-core meter rates will rise on the third and fourth hours, from $3 to $4 and from $4 to $5, respectively. A six-month business-vehicle permit will increase from $500 to $600, and a commercial day pass for construction use will double from $25 to $50.

Concerning liquor licenses, the city is upping the fee for a license transfer — from one business to another — by 275 percent, from $200 to $750. The state of Colorado upped the maximum transfer fee from $200 to $750 in 2013, but Aspen retained the $200 rate. City Clerk Kathryn Koch said Aspen is increasing the amount in 2014 because the transfer application is a lengthy process.

Also in the proposed fee structure is a 14 percent increase, from $3,500 to $4,000, to rent out the Aspen Ice Garden or Lewis Ice Arena. Tim Anderson, of the Parks and Recreation Department, said the two facilities are still the cheapest spots in town as far as full-day, full-facility rentals go.

In the Engineering Department, there is a 1,277 percent increase for a vacation application, from $363 to $5,000. In this application, a property owner requests that the city vacate its right of way to an area adjacent to its property, such as an alleyway. Don Taylor, director of finance and administrative services, said he sees a vacation application once every five years. He said when the city vacates, the applicant benefits greatly from it. Each application is a lengthy review process, and he said the general public should not be expected to pay for it.

The Aspen City Council voiced its approval for the proposed 2014 fee structure on first reading Monday night and will vote on it formally in the coming weeks.