News in brief
November 16, 2011
ASPEN – A foreclosure sale for the stalled Base Village project in Snowmass Village is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday on the steps of the Pitkin County Courthouse in Aspen.
If the sale does not happen, then the mortgage holder, currently the German government, will need to withdraw the current foreclosure action and begin a new foreclosure process.
“The banks have made a bid, and if nobody puts in a bid higher, then the banks will be in control,” said Snowmass Village town manager Russ Forrest. “A surprise is still a possibility. Either way, the foreclosure will be over, and Base Village will be owned by a well-capitalized developer at the end of the day.”
Wednesday’s foreclosure sale marks the eighth one on Base Village scheduled in the past year. The previous seven were postponed.
ASPEN – A rent break has been suggested for the residents of Whitcomb Terrace, the assisted-living facility next to Aspen Valley Hospital, who are enduring the impacts of ongoing hospital construction.
The hospital’s board of directors discussed the suggestion Monday but reached no conclusion. With two members absent, the board agreed to take the idea up again at its December meeting, according to David Ressler, CEO at AVH.
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A hospital expansion project has created the impacts. Work began earlier this year and will continue to affect 15-unit Whitcomb Terrace, which the hospital operates, for another year, he said.
“They are being impacted by the construction – no question about it,” Ressler said.
Construction aside, the individual who suggested the rent break noted that area rents in general have dropped with the recession, Ressler added.
AVH found that rents at Whitcomb, which have been frozen for two years, to be 9 percent lower than other comparable facilities in the Roaring Fork Valley, but about 21 percent higher than the national average, he said.
Board members appeared amenable to some sort of rent adjustment, and one suggested that hospital administrators analyze a 10 percent rent reduction, Ressler said.
ASPEN – Pitkin County commissioners on Tuesday gave their informal nod to divvying up $1.6 million in the county’s Healthy Community Fund to 71 agencies next year.
All of the allocations that a citizen grant-review committee recommended won favor with commissioners, though there were questions about whether some agencies duplicate services and whether some have other adequate means of financial support. Commissioner Jack Hatfield pondered the various entities that provide emergency support – food, help with utility bills and the like. Three such organizations are receiving Healthy Community Fund support for the first time next year, joining existing causes devoted to such efforts.
“I think we have some duplication here,” Hatfield said.
It’s justified, given the need, according to committee member Doris Downey. “All of these groups are trying to do 10 times more with 10 times less,” she said.
Next year is the last year for the existing Healthy Community Fund tax. Voters have renewed the tax at a higher rate for five years, starting in 2013. The new tax is expected to generate about $1.9 million annually – some $400,000 more than the existing tax produces.
Planning will begin next spring on how to work with the additional resources, but several commissioners suggested that some of the money go to rebuilding a reserve fund.
Commissioner Rachel Richards summarized this year’s requests as mostly “modest.” The grants go to health and human service agencies, senior services and area nonprofits; only six requests from nonprofits were denied.
“I do think these work very well together to form that community safety net,” she said of the grant recipients.
The public is invited to attend a celebration of the life of longtime Aspen Ski School supervisor and golf pro Yvan Tache, who passed away in October.
The celebration will take place from 5-8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Silvertree Hotel in Snowmass Village.
The festivities will include a sideshow of Tache’s ski and golf life, and remembrances by longtime friends and colleagues. Appetizers and drinks will be served.
Attire is alpine un-chic.
DENVER (AP) – The price of a medical marijuana license in Colorado could be lowered more than half.
The state Board of Health planned Wednesday to consider lowering the fee from $90 a year to $35 a year. Already the $90 fee is lower than when Colorado first authorized medical marijuana a decade ago, when the fee was $140.
The lower annual fee proposal comes from the agency that oversees the licenses. The agency has suggested the lower fee because it would be sufficient to cover administrative costs.
The health department recently started waiving medical marijuana fees entirely for indigent applicants, a change required by a law passed earlier this year.