City seeks to increase budget by $14M
ASPEN The Aspen City Council is poised to spend nearly $14 million Monday at its public meeting – most of which is additional expenses that weren’t anticipated this year.Part of that sum comes from a request to spend $954,320 over five years to replace 59 parking pay stations and additional $71,000 for a 1999 vintage Steinway grand piano for the Wheeler Opera House.The biggest ticket item, however, is an ordinance which, if approved, would adopt a budget supplement totaling $12,497,861. The supplement would formally appropriate funding that was previously reviewed by the council, as well as new requests: The transportation fund is requesting $1,176,500. Installing up to 75 new pay stations in residential parking areas will cost $950,000. Nearly every residential area that allows two-hour parking would be eliminated. Another $226,500 is needed for improvements made to offset summer traffic congestion. The Truscott housing fund needs an additional $35,000 for maintenance wages and supplies because of overtime wages from snow removal and emergency calls, as well as underbudgeted insurance items. Higher than anticipated apartment turnover also resulted in extra work and facility improvements. The city manager’s office is requesting $36,677. That includes a new keypad voting system for the public and on-site training to use it, totaling $25,709. Refunding Entrance to Aspen expenditures – $10,968 – originally paid out of the city manager’s budget will be reimbursed by the Elected Officials Transportation Committee. The water utility department would like $10,800 for a part-time data analyst and $19,721 for a full-time Canary Initiative facilitator. Another $150,000 is needed to replace a portion of the Red Mountain water line. The hydroelectric fund needs $201,030 to replace a turbine runner. The parks capital fund is requesting $165,639, of which $146,139 will be used to build a picnic pavilion at the Aspen Recreation Center. Another $10,00 will be used to improve and preserve Pioneer Park and $9,500 will go toward paying back a snowmobile that was bought earlier this year. Community Development requests $464,500 for a plethora of items: $206,000 to involve the public in reshaping historic preservation ordinance No. 30; $40,000 for a video to be made about Aspen’s historic structures; $36,500 to preserve the Aspen Grove Cemetery; $16,000 for 3D remodeling and software, and an additional $6,500 for labor costs for continued work on the model. Other one-time requests include $14,000 for additional printing costs of the land use code and other information due to the moratorium; $85,000 to update the Aspen Area Community Plan; $25,000 for building permit review consultant and $25,500 for a full-time position for zoning and planning support. On going requests include $10,000 for code books and items for resale. The engineering department requests $97,416. The department plans to hire to enforcement officers to monitor construction activities at a total cost of $77,416. Another $20,000 is needed to cover the department’s portion of the rent at the newly-rented 517 E. Hopkins Ave. office. The building department needs $41,202 for fire department inspections of sprinklers. Sprinkler inspections are offset by revenue, at 100 percent of direct costs. Environmental health requests $3,000 to buy an air flow meter for the city’s air monitor. The GIS department needs $15,500 for additional payroll expenses to cover the duties of a staff member who is on maternity leave. The asset management fund is requesting $187,000, of which $162,000 is needed for a mechanical systems retrofit for energy savings at the Aspen Recreation Center. Engineering is requesting $25,000 for another vehicle for the new construction enforcement officers. Finally, the housing development fund requires an additional $9,893,876 for the purchase of three new properties intended for affordable housing.Carolyn Sackariason’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The National Weather Service is predicting a La Nina weather pattern to continue through this winter, but don’t go turning in your ski pass just yet.