Aspen to discuss three new jobs for handling growth |

Aspen to discuss three new jobs for handling growth

Two city of Aspen departments are looking to create three jobs in order to better handle the community’s growing development activity.

The revenue the city collects for development-related services has increased steadily since 2010. In the January-to-June period of that year, the city garnered $668,182 in fees associated with new and refurbishment projects. In the same six-month period this year, the city reaped nearly $2.9 million.

The value of construction projects in Aspen, as represented through permits issued by the Building Department, has grown from $24.8 million in the first six months of 2010 to $88.9 million in the same period this year.

The request, from the city’s Community Development and Engineering departments, is expected to be evaluated at an Aspen City Council work session today. The meeting starts at 4 p.m. at Aspen City Hall.

The building division of Community Development wants to bring on an administrative assistant and a plans examiner at a combined cost of $149,000 per year, according to a city staff memorandum. The Engineering Department needs a development engineer at an estimated cost of $113,000, the memo said. The total amount of the request adds up to $262,000.

The memo noted that “numerous large projects in the pipeline” require review and inspection services. Some, such as Aspen Valley Hospital’s Phase III and IV expansion, have been approved by city regulatory entities but have yet to submit an application for a permit to start construction. Others, such as the Aspen Art Museum’s 26,500-square-foot building, already are under way.

“These projects represent workload that are in review or can currently be submitted to the building division and increase workload,” the memo said.

The memo added that the managers of the two departments, faced with so many projects in the works, “do not want to repeat the delayed response to increasing demands of (2005 to 2008). Back then, management did not add staff until review times were immeasurable, relationships with the building community were broken, and staff morale was extremely low.”

The departments are asking for the creation of a the new positions as a midyear budget request. Later this fall, the city will seek council approval for its 2014 annual budget.

“The requests could be delayed and discussed as part of the 2014 budget,” the memo concluded. “Downsides of this would be the delay in responding to current demands and likely deterioration of review times.”

Also at today’s work session, the council is planning to take up a request from city staff for $132,000 to fund ongoing wildfire-mitigation projects. For more information on that request, visit http://www.aspen

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