In-person council meetings in Aspen City Hall delayed, again |

In-person council meetings in Aspen City Hall delayed, again

One piece of electronic equipment stuck on a boat messing with the schedule

The pandemic continues to keep Aspen’s elected officials from holding in-person meetings, but now it’s supply chain disruptions rather than the high transmission rate of the virus that are delaying City Council from gathering in its new chambers in the recently opened City Hall.

The city suspended in-person meetings at the beginning of January due to the omicron variant raging in the community with the intention of returning in the flesh mid-month.

The debut of the council physically meeting in its new digs was pushed to Feb. 7 because a sound-mixing board piece of equipment, evidently crucial for broadcasting public meetings on multiple platforms, has been stuck on a slow boat from China.

“We are very clear as staff that we want to get you into your new council chambers,” Assistant City Manager Diane Foster said during council’s Jan. 25 virtual meeting. “We are waiting on one piece of equipment. The mayor had the opportunity to talk to a couple of staff about technical issues related to that one piece of equipment that is stuck on a boat and we are working toward hoping to have Feb. 7 and 8 in person in the new chambers.”

The sound board apparently has made it into the state and it will be installed next week, according to Rob Schober, the city’s capital asset director.

“Last I had heard it was going to be March but then I got a call that it’s in Denver,” he said.

He added that he and others in the city tried other providers around the country, but this piece of equipment is digital and not analog, which makes it more difficult to find.

The city has experienced other delivery delays due to supply chain issues, including access cards to the new City Hall on Rio Grande Place.

Council held its last meeting in the old City Hall in the armory building on Galena Street on Dec. 14, with the intention on having its first meeting in the new building on Jan. 10.

Council began meeting virtually in March 2020 when the pandemic first hit Aspen, and it wasn’t until June 1, 2021, before it began meeting in person while also offering virtual participation.

Mayor Torre said he is anxious to get back in person to conduct the public’s business where community members can interact face to face.

“As I have been patient with the pandemic and the move to City Hall, I will be patient with this too,” he said. “I really want meetings in person because there is a breakdown in communications when it’s virtual.”