In Brief: Pitkin County looks at bigger budget; trail closure above Snowmass Canyon |

In Brief: Pitkin County looks at bigger budget; trail closure above Snowmass Canyon

Staff report

County looks at bigger budget

The Pitkin County Board of County Commissioners began work this week on the 2023 county budget and five-year plan. Final adoption is scheduled for Dec. 13.

“The 2023 budget and five-year plan has been developed under difficult economic circumstances that emerged amid ongoing COVID-19 recovery and international conflicts. Specifically, we have seen a slowdown in the global economy combined with persistently high inflation. Generally, a slowing economy and inflation do not coexist,” said County Manager Jon Peacock.

He said the county is in a strong financial position, thanks to conservative budgeting in 2021 and 2022, when revenues grew beyond projections. The county is entering 2023 with historic fund balances. 

“These surpluses provide opportunities to invest in operations and projects that will make our community and organization more sustainable and resilient,” said Peacock.

The proposed 2023 budget and five-year plan emphasize:

  • Retention and recruitment of staff;
  • Ongoing high inflation;
  • Funding for board-directed priorities and projects. The proposed budget and five-year plan include one-time expenditures for transit and transportation improvements, renewable energy projects, criminal justice system improvements, affordable housing projects, airport planning/improvements, affordable housing investments and many other one-time projects, officials said.

The proposed 2023 budget for all funds is $183,498,672, a 14% increase from 2022. Year-over-year increases are largely driven by addressing inflationary pressures, capital projects and one-time projects.

Expenditures proposed in the 2023 budget include $3.4 million for phase 1 of an integrated clean-energy microgrid system at the AABC; $250,000 allocated for planning and design for jail building; $3 million Aspen Airport commercial passenger terminal design; $3.9 million in support of community non-profits and health and human services agencies; $597,450 in county support for the Aspen Pitkin County Housing Authority, a 52% increase over 2022.

Sources of revenue for the county include sales tax, property tax, intergovernmental revenue, fees and service charges and investment income.

Rio Grande near Gerbazdale to close Thursday

A section of the Rio Grande Trail near Gerbazdale, just above Snowmass Canyon, will be closed for roughly six hours on Thursday while a crew collects soil borings. Drilling equipment will be in place on the trail.

Trail users will be rerouted onto Lower River Road for a one-mile stretch to bypass the work.

The borings are necessary to test the soils before next year’s anticipated placement of a new bridge over the Roaring Fork River that will connect the Aspen Village subdivision with the Rio Grande Trail, county officials said. Residents of the area have long desired a pedestrian/bike bridge as a safer alternative to narrow, steep and winding Gerbaz Way, the officials said. A trail connection beneath Highway 82 already exists.

The area where the work will occur.

Go to for more information about the project. The site of the work is just upvalley of Red Rim Trail and just downvalley from the two, old rail cars that sit alongside the Rio Grande Trail.

Glenwood roundabout closed for work Friday-Sunday

Glenwood Springs’ north leg Midland Avenue and 27th Street roundabout will be closed beginning at 7 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 14, through Sunday, Oct. 16. Both the southbound entrance to the roundabout from Midland Avenue and the northbound exit from the roundabout to Midland Avenune will be closed. For alternate access to 27th Street, Highway 82 or Midland Avenue, motorists should use the detour via 8th Street, the city said. All other roundabout entrances and exits will remain open during this time. Travel delays are anticipated, especially during the Friday evening peak-travel period.

This closure is for concrete work in the southbound lane and curb and gutter work on the northbound lane. This schedule is weather dependent and subject to change.

Fire Prevention Week highlights escape plans

This Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 9-15), the American Red Cross of Colorado and Wyoming urges everyone to practice their two-minute home fire escape plan and test their smoke alarms to stay safe from the nation’s most frequent disaster.

Two minutes is the amount of time that fire experts say you may have to safely escape a home fire before it’s too late. These crises account for most of the 60,000-plus disasters that the Red Cross responds to each year across the U.S. — where home fire responses are 23% higher during cold months than warmer times of year.

“As the threat of home fires increases with colder temperatures, Fire Prevention Week serves as an important reminder to prepare now,” said Gino Grecko, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross of Colorado and Wyoming. “Practice your two-minute home fire escape drill, and test your smoke alarms monthly to help keep your family safe.”

Discussion Oct. 26 on breast cancer options

In commemoration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Valley View Breast Center will present “Surgical Options for Breast Cancer,” a virtual discussion via Zoom, on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 6 p.m.

Breast surgeon Betsy Brew, MD, at Valley View’s Breast Center will discuss surgical options available to breast cancer patients from lumpectomies to mastectomies. This webinar is aimed at women of any stage of life who want to learn more about breast health.

To register, visit


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