Carbondale prioritizes spending should mill levy extension pass | AspenTimes.com

Carbondale prioritizes spending should mill levy extension pass

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE – Public improvements near the planned new town library, downtown parking and beautification efforts along Highway 133 are among the top priorities if town voters agree to extend a 1.5 mill levy in the Nov. 2 election.

Carbondale Town Council this week discussed what the approximately quarter-million dollars in annual tax funds might be used for, should the tax be allowed to continue.

The special property assessment, approved by a narrow margin of town voters in 2000, has been used to pay for Carbondale’s downtown “streetscape” project over the past 10 years.

That work included new sidewalks, additional parking spaces, lower-profile street lights, landscaping, delineated crosswalks and brick “bulbouts” at several Main Street intersections intended for pedestrian safety, and the Fourth Street Plaza, which is used for a variety of public events.

The tax is now set to expire at the end of this year, but town trustees have asked that voters consider extending it for another decade to help pay for continued public improvements around town.

The ballot question is not specific as to how the funds would be used, other than “for the purpose of constructing public street, streetscape and related improvements within the town, including expanded downtown parking, pedestrian safety, street lights and beautification.”

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However, the town board, at its Oct. 5 meeting, wanted to give voters some idea of what the money will be used for as a basis for making their decision in the upcoming election.

Topping the list will be to partner with the Garfield County Public Library District for improvements related to the planned new, larger Carbondale branch library to be built at the corner of Third Street and Sopris Avenue.

Specifically, new sidewalks and curb/gutter will be necessary at that corner when the library is built. The library district has also asked that the town help with improving the parking area.

Combined, those projects would cost about $350,000, mayor Stacey Patch Bernot indicated at this week’s meeting.

Once the new library is built, the existing library building on Fourth Street would revert to the town, which owns the land but not the building itself.

Beyond that, the town has also been interested in securing a piece of property in the downtown area that could be used for a public parking lot or parking structure in the future. Currently, the town leases a couple of parking areas but does not own them.

Also on the list of projects would be a variety of pedestrian and traffic safety improvements along Highway 133 in conjunction with highway upgrades planned by the Colorado Department of Transportation in the coming years.

Proceeds from the special tax have varied over the years since it first went into effect, from around $100,000 in its first year to a projected $262,000 this year.

jstroud@postindependent.com

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