Pitkin County commissioners support underpass in Basalt
Pitkin County commissioners expressed support Tuesday for a multimillion-dollar underpass in Basalt, though the exact amount of that support is yet to be determined.
The board will wait until bids for the project come in March 11 before they determine how much the county will contribute, according to a discussion Tuesday with members of the county Open Space and Trails Board.
The Open Space and Trails Board recommended contributing $400,000 to the project last month. At that time, Basalt Town Manager Mike Scanlon said commissioners would be asked to kick in another $750,000 to $1 million for the underpass.
Basalt has raised $6.5 million for the underpass so far, though it was expected to be $1.4 million short based on previous cost estimates for the project. The project was again put out to bid recently, and County Manager Jon Peacock suggested waiting until those bids come back before settling on a particular amount of support.
Commissioner Steve Child said he nearly hit a pedestrian at the intersection of Highway 82 and Basalt Avenue on a recent night and that the underpass “is really needed.”
“Without this pedestrian underpass, someone will get killed eventually,” Child said.
Richards said she sees the underpass as a trail connector as well as an issue of safety.
“I’m personally committed to seeing this through,” she said.
Commissioners are set to meet with the Basalt Town Council not long after the March 11 bids are due.
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Current Basalt officials say the town government has violated the Colorado Taxpayers’ Bill of Right by increasing the property tax mill levy over the prior years 10 times since the mid-2000s. Two former mayors contend the mill levy could be adjusted in any given year as long as it didn’t exceed the mill levy in 1994. It’s a $2 million question.