Pitkin County eyes broadband expansion

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times

Pitkin County soon will begin surveying residents about expanding broadband services in areas where Internet and cellphone coverage is spotty or nonexistent.

County management analyst Kara Silbernagel, at a work session with county commissioners Tuesday, said surveys will be sent out March 31 as part of a needs assessment. The survey will expand to residents in parts of Eagle, Garfield and Gunnison counties since they’re part of the Roaring Fork Valley watershed impacted by the regional stretch of broadband.

The survey will go to about 400 residents and will ask them if they need high-speed Internet and how much they’d be willing to pay, among other questions.

“It will be interesting to see how they respond,” Silbernagel said.

The survey is random, and those not selected will be able to express their views on the county’s website forum,

Last year, the county launched a bidding process for broadband network design and services, winnowing down the list to three finalists. But before the county makes a selection, it wants to better understand what residents want, Silbernagel said.

In other county news, the Pitkin County Assessor’s Office in May will mail out notices of valuation to all property owners in the county.

Properties are assessed every two years, and June 30, 2014, will be used as the date of valuation. The values are intended to reflect the real estate market in the two years of sales prior to the valuation date.

“Keep in mind that your property tax bill will include taxes from a number of local taxing authorities depending on where you live,” said Assessor Tom Isaac in a statement. “These can include your Fire Protection District, Water District, Ambulance District and your schools, among others.”

The Assessor’s Office designates the property values and the Treasurer’s Office collects the property taxes. Appeals can be filed in the month of May only.

For more details, call the Assessor’s Office at 970-920-5160.