News in brief
Road construction begins today in Gibson Avenue neighborhoodA month-long construction project begins today in the Gibson Avenue neighborhood.The drainage infrastructure improvement project will conclude Nov. 15. From now until then, there will be intermittent lane closures on Neale Avenue. Gibson Avenue will be closed, with the exception of local traffic. Insufficient drainage on Gibson Avenue has allowed runoff to pond in the roadway, especially during freeze-thaw periods. The installation of new inlets, drainage pipes, curbs and gutters should improve drainage and road conditions between Neale Avenue and Matchless Drive, according to city engineers. The city has retained contractor Heyl LLC to complete the work. For more information, call project manager Tyler Christoff at the Aspen Engineering Department at 544-3143.Candidate still part of DAs probeFormer Aspen City Council candidate Toni Kronberg is still under investigation by the district attorneys office, which is determining whether she lied about her residency when she ran for public office this past spring.Its been three months since the case was turned over to the DAs office by Jim True, special counsel for the city of Aspen. Assistant District Attorney Gail Nichols said this week that the initial investigation is complete and a second one soon will be underway. She would not comment as to when the investigation would conclude.True turned over the case to the DA in July, two months after he did his own investigation to determine whether Kronberg was a legally qualified candidate when she ran for a City Council seat in the past election. In order to qualify, a candidate must have lived within the city limits for 12 months prior to filing petition papers.The investigation was prompted by complaints filed by three Aspen residents Ron Erickson, Jim DeFrancia and Andrew Kole who challenged Kronbergs residency.Kronberg has always maintained that she has lived in the city of Aspen and, that for the past year, she has been a caretaker for a homeowner in the Oklahoma Flats neighborhood.Questions about whether Kronberg was an Aspen resident surfaced after several sources told The Aspen Times they believed she lived outside the city limits in Aspen Village, based on her continual presence there.The only proof City Hall requires to show residency is a signed affidavit from a candidate. If its found that the document was signed under false pretenses, forgery or election fraud charges could be possible. Low-budget campaign kicks off Voters can expect to see election material showing up in their mailboxes within a week or two.Mayor Mick Ireland is spearheading the low-budget campaign called Clean Air, Water & Power & Better Elections. Ireland has raised no money as of yet, but hes using old paper stock from his mayoral campaign to print election material supporting five ballot questions for the Nov. 6 election. No tax funds are being used in preparing, printing or distributing the fliers.Ireland plans to tackle the three-week campaign grassroots style, knocking on doors and recruiting volunteers including his fellow council members to do the same. Fliers will be mailed explaining how cleaning up the election process, as well as the water in the Roaring Fork River, the power plant and the air will improve residents lives. Voters will be asked to institute Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) at the polls. It would eliminate holding another election a month later if candidates dont receive the majority in the May election.Question 2B: A tax of .65 mills (about $53 per year for a $1 million home) will allow the city to intercept about 1,400 tons of waste annually out of the Roaring Fork River through traps and bio-settling ponds similar to the current Jenny Adair project.Questions 2C and 2D: Voters will be asked to issue bonds to build a generating plant that will power about 500 homes, eventually pay for itself and eliminate 5,000 tons of CO2. The second question asks voters to authorize the city to use an open space parcel under the Castle Creek Bridge to build a hydropower plant.Question 2A: Voters will be asked to create a new 2.1 percent use tax on construction and building materials that would go into effect Jan. 1, 2008. The ballot measure also includes a new 0.15 percent sales tax that would be effective Sept. 2, 2009 a day after the current 0.25 percent tax for parking expires.The tax revenue will pay for the operation, maintenance and capital replacement of, and improvements to, the citys transit service and pedestrian amenities.
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A recent survey of Aspen residents shows that people are happy here, feel safe but are financially insecure.