Smuggler district yanked off ballot
Prompted by a roomful of Smuggler-area residents opposed to the formation of an improvement district, the Aspen City Council unanimously voted Monday to remove a question to form the district from the ballot.
The November question would have asked city voters if they supported the creation of a district to help fund putting overhead utility lines underground in the Smuggler area. The cost of the work would have been borne by TCI Cable, Holy Cross Electric and residents of the district.
The proposal was driven by a petition signed by more than 80 percent of the homeowners in the Smuggler area. But on Monday, the council meeting room was filled with people who felt “misled” by the those who initiated the petition.
Residents, many of whom signed the petition, told council they felt deceived by “assurances” that the cost to homeowners would be minimal. The sole bid to do the work, however, produced a serious case of sticker shock.
The cost to Smuggler Mobile Home Park homeowners was estimated at $8,583 each, while other homeowners in the district could have been billed up to $77,830.
Given the public sentiment, council members voted to hold off on the question, at least until there is more competition in bidding.
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A recent survey of Aspen residents shows that people are happy here, feel safe but are financially insecure.