Aspen council gives initial nod to $2.47 million in budget requests |

Aspen council gives initial nod to $2.47 million in budget requests

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – The Aspen City Council on Monday gave preliminary approval to $2.47 million in “new requests” from city departments that will be applied toward the 2011 budget passed last fall.

The new requests are one aspect of a supplemental budget scheduled for further discussion, a public hearing and a final vote at the council’s May 23 regular meeting.

Some council members posed questions to Aspen Finance Director Don Taylor about the budget increases during last night’s meeting, but added that they may do more individual research on the changes between now and the meeting in two weeks.

Here is a partial list of the new requests, which in many cases are not actually new, having been discussed in council work sessions and other meetings over the last few months. The money to pay for the additional items will come from a variety of revenue sources, including some of the city’s dedicated fund reserves.

• Building Department: $133,610, of which $83,610 will fund a review of plans for the Aspen Valley Hospital project. The remaining $50,000 will be used to continue legal fees for the defense of a former inspector of the Community Development Department.

• Special Events Department: $82,500 for the approved proposals under the city’s Mining for Ideas program, which gives money to fledgling enterprises that seek to bring more visitors to Aspen, generating commerce and sales taxes, usually during slow times of year.

• Wheeler Fund: $143,230, of which $121,230 would repair the chiller system on the roof of the Wheeler Opera House, and $22,000 would be spent on soundproofing and insulation of the audience chamber.

• City Tourism Promotion Fund: $115,360, of which $57,680 is for a partial repayment to the city of Aspen for an $80,000 loan given to the Aspen Chamber Resort Association.

• Kids First Fund: $379,000, of which $60,000 will be used to provide additional financial aid to families for childcare. More families have applied to the city’s Kids First program for childcare assistance over the last year than originally expected.

• Parks and Open Space Capital Fund: $260,000, of which $200,000 is for the environmental enhancements to stormwater ponds proposed at Rio Grande Park in association with planned improvements by Theatre Aspen and its summer-season tent facility.

• Water Utility Fund: $200,000 needed to complete the Thomas Reservoir Spillway this year.

• Asset Management Fund: $367,560 for funding the compressor and refrigeration replacement projects at the Aspen Ice Garden.

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