In Brief: New airport task force, additional child-care providers, STR tax collections begin soon | AspenTimes.com
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In Brief: New airport task force, additional child-care providers, STR tax collections begin soon

County turns to pilots in airport-safety effort

A dozen pilots will team up with the aim to help make the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport safer.

The Pitkin County commissioners completed the last of bureaucratic steps Wednesday to create the Flight Ops Safety Task Force, which will advise the county Airport Advisory Board, which advise the Board of County Commissioners.

The group is composed of 12 local pilots, and its bylaws limit its focus strictly to aviation-related safety in the air and on the ground, county officials said. They plan to have preliminary recommendations ready as soon as the first quarter of 2023. 



The recommendation for the pilot-safety group came as part of the Airport Advisory Board’s mission to implement the community’s Common Ground Recommendations developed as part of the nearly two-year, citizen-led Aspen Airport Vision process, officials said. “Maximize the Safety of our Airport” was identified as the top community value, goal, and recommendation in a report that included the Common Ground Recommendations adopted by the county commissioners in December 2020

Meetings of the Flight Ops Safety Task Force will be conducted in accordance with the Colorado Open Meetings Law with the assistance of county and airport staff, according to the county, along with notices to the public of task-force meetings in the same manner as for Airport Advisory Board meetings. The next Airport Advisory Board meeting is scheduled for Dec. 15.




Kids First program adds child-care providers

The city of Aspen’s Kids First program has announced local partnerships intended to expand child-care capacity in the community. Little Steps College at Aspen Colorado Mountain College and Ajax Cubs for Mountain Kids at the Yellow Brick building in Aspen are now accepting families into their programs.

“This is a win-win situation when the city is able to make progress on the City Council’s goal of increasing child-care capacity with finding local talent to step into this space,” said Kids First Co-Manager Megan Monaghan. “We’re excited that months of work and investment behind the scenes has brought these opportunities to the community before the end of the year.”

Last year, the city started the design and renovation of an indoor and outdoor space at the Aspen CMC campus to open an infant child-care business with space for eight children. Simultaneously, Kids First sought a qualified, licensed child-care provider to run the center. Kids First serves as an early childhood-resource center supporting quality, affordable childcare choices in Aspen and Pitkin County, city officials said.

Little Steps College at Aspen CMC will open this month under Dana Ruiz. Ruiz was born and raised in the Roaring Fork Valley. She started at Faith Lutheran Child Care Center, where she earned her early childhood teacher qualifications. She has three years of experience and said she is excited about opening her own infant child-care program. 

Little Steps will provide care to infants aged eight weeks through 18 months of age. Based on its contractual agreement, Little Steps will serve Colorado Childcare Assistance Program-funded children — first come, first served. When infant care space is available, priority is given to children of CMC faculty and staff, up to three spaces. Following that, spaces can be filled by the general public, officials said. 

For more information, email littlestepscollege99@gmail.com.

Also opening this winter is Ajax Cubs, offering preschool (ages 3-5), toddler care (ages 18 months to 3 years), and infant care (ages 2-18 months) in the Yellow Brick Building in Aspen. Ajax Cubs was founded by the leadership of Ajax Adventure Camp, a local summer camp focused on outdoor adventure. 

Ajax Cubs staff, including founders Oliver Umpleby and Liz Beckwith, are trained to deliver a blend of traditional early childhood teaching philosophies with outdoor adventure and exploration to create an experience well-suited for Aspen families, city officials said. Interested families can fill out an interest form at ajaxcubs.com/.

For more information on Kid First programs, visit aspen.gov/235/Kids-First.

Short-term tax collections begin with new year in Carbondale

On Nov. 8, voters of Carbondale passed Ballot Issue 2A to impose a tax of 6% of the gross rental price paid by customers of short-term rental accommodations, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2023.

This is inclusive of any service charges or fees.The proceeds of the short-term rental tax will be used to fund affordable and attainable housing.

Owners of short-term rental properties in Carbondale will be required to submit payment to the town through the town’s current software system, called MuniRevs, due the 20th of each month. Town staff said they are working with the software vendor to develop this new tax within the software and will send additional collection process information as it becomes available.

If you are already having lodging taxes paid to the town through Airbnb, Vrbo, or similar third-party platform, contact those entities to arrange for the additional tax to be collected and paid to the town of Carbondale, town officials said.

Glenwood considers housing board, discouraged from APCHA as model

The Glenwood Springs City Council has begun planning for the workforce-housing fund created with voter approval of the 2C ballot initiative on Nov. 8. The tax will go into effect Jan. 1, 2023.

The council started with considering who to appoint to the new oversight board created by the lodging-tax measure.

“You need people that understand finance; you need people that understand real estate,” said Clark Anderson, co-founder and executive director of Community Builders, an advisory group. “It would be great if you had people that understand real-estate finance.”

Connecting with professionals in other communities that have already been doing this kind of work and answering questions that have still not been decided can be simultaneous first steps along with deciding the proper makeup of the board, committee members also said. 

The new lodging tax dollars will start being collected throughout next year, giving the City Council 12 months to make the remaining decisions.

The council was advised to not take examples from groups like the Aspen Pitkin County Housing Authority (APCHA) but instead to look at places like Eagle County, which has similar strategies and market context, Anderson said.

Lauri Best with Breckenridge Community Development was recommended by multiple members of the ad hoc committee as being a great source for planning in Glenwood Springs.