Changing of the guard
ASPEN Aspen officially will have a new mayor today. Mayor-elect Mick Ireland, as well as city councilmen-elect Dwayne Romero and Steve Skadron are expected to be sworn in Monday during the council’s regular meeting.The priority of the day for the new council will be to appoint a mayor pro-tem. All indications point to current City Councilman J.E. DeVilbiss as the next second in command.”It’s probably appropriate that one of the two [current City Council members] become pro-tem,” Romero said. Councilman Jack Johnson predicted he and his colleagues would appoint DeVilbiss. Johnson has said he’s not interested in the job.The other task for the new council is to schedule a meeting to set priorities for the upcoming year. Romero said transportation funding is a big issue for him since the tax is set to expire next year. Voters have defeated the renewal of the tax in the past, Romero said.The new officials have prepared for their first meeting by studying a 244-page council agenda. But since they won’t officially take the helm until halfway through the meeting, the new council will review only three items on the agenda, including land use applications to develop affordable housing on Smuggler and subdivide a property on Hopkins Avenue. Controversy could manifest during the discussion of whether or not to approve a $60,100 contract to expand the Rio Grande Recycle Center and skate park.A proposal from WRC Engineering Inc. calls for paving the site and building ramps in the recycling area, which will help alleviate issues associated with inclement weather. City staff suggest that improvements will make it easier to remove snow. The redevelopment also incorporates space for an additional recycle bin for grass and leaves, according to city staff.Toni Kronberg, who ran unsuccessfully for a City Council seat in the June runoff election, has been distributing a flier urging citizens to attend the meeting and speak out against the proposal.Kronberg furiously fought against City Hall’s proposal last fall to build a new recycling center at the site, which included new buildings. Voters defeated the proposal in November.Kronberg argues that a new recycling center would leave little room to expand the adjacent skate park. The current proposal, which doesn’t include any buildings, does not specifically address expanding the skate park except for a small grassy area.”If you want more skateboard park expansion and other great recreational things please come to the City Council meeting and support asking the new City Council to change their plans and minds, and take public comment before the new mayor and City Council approve the contract,” Kronberg wrote.
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