In Brief: Recount underway, Aspen water plan, electric vehicles pooh-poohed |

In Brief: Recount underway, Aspen water plan, electric vehicles pooh-poohed

Staff Report

Pitkin County joins in recount this week

The Pitkin County elections office has scheduled its part of the automatic recount of the 3rd Congressional District race for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Silt, beat former Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch by 550 votes in the sprawling House district. The total vote count came to 163,842 votes for Boebert and 163,292 for Frisch, which fell within the 0.5% triggering an automatic recount even though Frisch conceded, acknowledging that recounts almost never change winners — a sign of accuracy.

Two bipartisan teams of judges will work on the recount, according to county officials.

Observers from the U.S. House, U.S. Department of Justice, Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, and appointees of the Democratic and Republican parties’ county chair people are anticipated, the county said.

Aspen seeks comment on water plan

The city of Aspen has completed a draft of an updated Municipal Water Efficiency Plan and is requesting public input. This plan updates the city’s 2015 Water Efficiency Plan supporting future water conservation and efficiency activities to provide a sustainable water supply for the city into the future. 

The city has integrated water conservation and efficiency throughout its various planning documents and continues to implement a robust conservation program, city officials said. The updated plan serves to identify water conservation programs and efficiency activities that support the long-term demand of potable water for residents. These plans and programs encourage community members to support the efficient use of water at all times by establishing “normal” condition guidelines, officials said.  

The city Utility Department manages and maintains water and electric resources to customers while driving the reduction of Aspen’s greenhouse gas emissions and energy use, according to the city.

For more information and to comment on the plan: The deadline for comment is Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. 

Rifle leaders pooh pooh electric vehicles

The Rifle City Council has pulled the plug on a proposal to require electric vehicle-capable wiring for any new construction unit with a garage.

Voting against the proposal were Council Member Joe Carpenter, Mayor Pro Tem Brian Condie and Mayor Ed Green, saying they weren’t sold on the idea that electric vehicles are a completely viable way to fight global warming, and that installing EV-capable wiring should ultimately be a decision left to the home buyer. Based on the size of the structure, adding EV capabilities is estimated to cost between $150-$300 during construction.

“Electric vehicles are a way to reduce local carbon output,” Condie said. “But, electricity is one of the worst polluters of your carbon output.”

Carbondale principal announces retirement plans

Carbondale Middle School Principal Jennifer Lamont has announced her plans to retire at the end of the current school year after 25 years with the Roaring Fork Schools. 

Prior to becoming principal at the school, she was an assistant principal and special-education teacher. Under her leadership, the middle school was recognized as the 2018 state winner for the Colorado Succeeds Award, according to the district.

“During her time in the Roaring Fork Schools, Jenn has built a reputation as an unwavering advocate for her school, always approaching situations with conviction and a strong, well-thought-out plan,” Chief Academic Officer Stacey Park said in a letter to families and staff. “She works tirelessly to support her students, families, and staff members and is known for her compassion and empathy.”

This vacant position for the 2023-24 school year will be posted immediately, accroding to the district.

Vail considers upcharge on plastic, paper bags

In response to the statewide Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023, the town of Vail is proposing changes to its existing disposable-bag regulations.

Going into effect with the new year will be a 10-cent fee statewide on all plastic and paper bags. A municipality may raise the fee higher by resolution or ordinance. 

Vail is proposing an increase to its existing 10 cents per bag fee to 25 cents per bag. The fee would be paid by customers and partially remitted to the town by all retailers with their monthly sales tax. State law requires the fee be split, with at least 40% going to the business.

Also, a ban on plastic carryout bags goes into effect statewide on Jan. 1, 2024. The ban affects large grocery and retail stores. Disposable paper bags made from 100%-recycled content can still be distributed with the bag fee. Existing regulations in Vail already ban single-use plastic bags at grocers 4,000 square feet and larger. 

Marijuana sales tail off statewide

Colorado’s marijuana industry knows what it’s like to feel the high, but now the buzz is wearing off. Marijuana sales have declined for more than a year in the state, threatening public programs funded by the tax revenue the sales produce.

In an industry that’s built on getting high, marijuana sales are now seeing record lows.

“Right now, the Colorado marijuana industry is going through the largest downturn that we’ve ever seen,” said Truman Bradley, executive director of the Wheat Ridge-based Marijuana Industry Group. “Our industry is going through big time layoffs. Thousands of people have lost their jobs and small business owners are going under. Unfortunately, I expect that to continue into the coming year.”

So why is this all happening now? It starts with supply and demand. When everyone was sent home in 2020, let’s just say there wasn’t much to do. That resulted in a big spike in marijuana sales during the pandemic. Now that people aren’t stuck at home, they aren’t buying as much weed.

“The medical market is down about 47% statewide and the recreational market is down about 20%. Those are huge, huge, numbers,” Bradley said. “To put that into perspective, that means there is a hundred million dollars less in marijuana tax revenue than there was a year ago. What that means is critical programs that are funded by marijuana tax revenue are at risk.”

— Channel 9, Denver


Silver Queen Gondola temporarily closed

| Developing

The Silver Queen Gondola at Aspen Mountain is currently closed. Mechanics are looking into it now and more information will come in the next hour, Jeff Hanle, Aspen Skiing Co. vice president of communications said.

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