Some unanswered questions | AspenTimes.com
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Some unanswered questions

Dear Editor:Whoa lets hold on a minute. The Basalt Town Council has mailed a notice of an election (not mailed until early March) to take place April 1, 2008 (April Fools Day) for the purpose of gaining voter approval to purchase the Pan & Fork property along the Roaring Fork River.The election would grant the town the right to issue $5 million in bonds with a repayment cost of another $2.6 million (quite a sum for a park). The Town Council also has written a guest opinion for the editorial pages (A new vision shapes up for the Pan & Fork, March 17) in which they have stated they intend to use a portion of the property for a riverfront park and that the remaining portion (1.8 acres) will be developed for some use (they do not say what) with a private developer. They make the claim that the joint development parcel will pretty much repay the town for its costs in this endeavor (they just dont say how).Now they bring up the question of relocating the existing residents and infer that some future housing associated with future developments will serve to house these families (again, pretty vague and with no real time frames or specific locations for the affordable housing). Finally, they claim the owner is willing to sell the property at a price $1.3 million below its appraised value. (How is it that up and down the valley property owners are selling their real estate at enormous profit, while in Basalt we have a seller out to dispose of this site at a bargain basement price?)So the questions arise: Why such a short time between notice of this election and the date of the election? Why such vague and minuscule information concerning the details of this endeavor? What are the specific costs involved that total more than $5 million? Where and at what cost are the trailer park residents to be relocated? How long will this new tax run and can it be increased? Why is the town involved in a property development and not a private developer? What happens if the town has underestimated the costs involved?There obviously are many more questions that need to be answered for the tax-paying residents of Basalt who are being asked to foot this bill. Certainly the town could require a developer to set aside a portion of this property for a park, especially the part that is in the flood plain.I would urge the town to back off and give the residents of Basalt an opportunity to study this project in far greater detail with much more information. I am certain that my fellow residents will not vote for this project under these suspicious circumstances.Randolph ColmanBasalt