City’s transportation lobbyist likely to get smaller paycheck
Aspen is set to trim back its support for a transportation lobbyist in Washington, D.C., and ask other valley governments to pick up part of the lobbyist’s tab.
At a budgetary workshop on Monday the Aspen City Council agreed it should only pay the lobbyist through September of next year, thereby cutting the annual payment from $100,000 to $63,000.
In addition, the council directed city staffers to contact other governments in the valley, whose transportation plans also benefit from the lobbyist’s efforts to win federal grants and other support, and get them to pay approximately $21,000 of the lobbyist’s fee.
That would leave Aspen paying $42,000 for the lobbyist’s services, or the amount needed to keep him at work through June at $7,000 per month. The downvalley communities’ contributions will make up the remaining three months.
The cuts were proposed by Assistant City Manager Randy Ready, who said the lobbyist’s work will be somewhat reduced now if he is only to work toward getting money for buses instead of a train system between Glenwood Springs and Aspen.
There was considerable discussion about the ability and willingness of downvalley governments to kick in toward the fee.
Mayor Rachel Richards noted that the governments of Carbondale and Basalt together have a budget about equal to that of the Roaring Fork Transit Agency. She also pointed out that the two towns’ representatives have often said they could not afford to pay toward valley transit services, much less the fees of a lobbyist.
But, where the city of Glenwood Springs once adamantly refused to contribute toward RFTA’s expenses, the city now has a sales tax dedicated to paying the operating costs of its own bus system run through RFTA, the mayor said.
The council meeting Monday was a workshop, so no formal votes were taken on the budgetary discussions.
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