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News in Brief

A trial is still scheduled to go forward in August after city officials rejected a settlement offer from the architects who designed the Aspen Recreation Center.

The city sued Durrant Architects Inc. in spring of 2003, claiming more than $900,000 in cost overruns at the ARC, which it blamed on Durrant.

A mediated session between the parties took place in Denver on Friday; Durrant made what Assistant City Manager Ed Sadler termed a “ludicrous” offer to settle the suit.

“At least we got an offer, which is better than we had before, but it was unacceptable,” he said.

According to Sadler, the city now believes $1.4 million in unanticipated costs at the ARC can be attributed to the designs for the project. The facility opened in the spring of 2003. All the metal surfaces in the pool area had to be repainted last fall ” one of the costs the city hopes to recoup.

“We’re preparing for trial,” said City Attorney John Worcester, who would not disclose the specifics of Durrant’s offer.

A Canadian firm will help Aspen find a new executive director of the Wheeler Opera House.

The City Council approved a $32,000 contract Monday with Genovese Vanderhoff and Associates of Toronto to find Nida Tautvydas’ replacement. In addition to the contract are “pre-approved expenses related to the search,” according to a memo to the council. Councilman Torre voted against the expenditure, which will come from Wheeler funds.

The fee is within the typical range for recruitment of an executive ” about 30 to 35 percent of the position’s salary. The top of the salary range for the Wheeler director is $97,053.

The goal is to hire a new Wheeler director this summer. Tautvydas has resigned, effective July 22.

“The use of a search firm in no way precludes local candidates from applying, but it provides us with a level of assurance that local candidates who reach the finalist status are fully qualified and competitive,” notes the memo to the council.

While the city doesn’t usually use an executive search firm to fill positions, city staffers recommended it be done in this case. GVA has conducted 135 searches for performing arts executives in recent years.

Starting June 30, any trash receptacle that is left outside overnight must be wildlife proof, not merely wildlife resistant.

That is one of several new rules adopted Monday by the City Council to toughen its wildlife ordinance, geared mainly at keeping bears out of garbage.

Effective June 1, 2006, all trash haulers must provide only approved, metal wildlife-proof containers within the city. By June 1, 2007, all trash receptacles within the city must meet that standard.

In addition, any damaged trash receptacle or enclosure must be repaired within 72 hours under the new rules, instead of within one week. And, all haulers must display their business name on containers they provide within the city.


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