S’mass council in no hurry on power line issue | AspenTimes.com

S’mass council in no hurry on power line issue

Still undecided on whether to install underground power lines up Brush Creek, a request by the Snowmass Village Town Council for more time on the issue was granted by Holy Cross Energy officials Monday.

The decision on whether to bury the power lines, a move that will cost more than putting them above ground, was originally due today.

The deadline is now Aug. 1, and council members are hoping for more public feedback before they make a decision that could affect taxpayers in several municipalities.

In early June, Holy Cross officials said the deadline was not set in stone as long as progress was being made on a decision.

In a preliminary, unofficial vote last month, council members, with one abstaining, voted to install the lines underground. Councilman Arnie Mordkin said he wanted more time to collect feedback from the public.

If constructed above ground, the power lines would be strung across 80-foot towers in the Brush Creek Valley. If built underground, the project would cost about $5 million to $7 million more.

The issue now is centered around who will foot the bill if the lines are put underground.

The town is considering three options. The first is to add a surcharge to Holy Cross customers in Snowmass Village. The second is to divide the surcharge among Holy Cross customers in Snowmass Village, Brush Creek Village and Owl Creek. The third is a hybrid, with customers in Snowmass Village, Brush Creek Village and Owl Creek paying 80 percent of the surcharge, with the remaining 20 percent being divided among Holy Cross customers in the Roaring Fork Valley between Basalt and Aspen.

Public hearings, which began a couple of weeks ago, have been extended until July 21.

[Steve Benson’s e-mail address is sbenson@aspentimes.com]

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