Three goals to vote for | AspenTimes.com

Three goals to vote for

Dear Editor:

Clean air, clean water and clean power.

For decades, Aspen has been a leader in protecting the environment. Now we need your help in taking real action to accomplish these goals.

On the ballot in November are three questions that ask voters for funding and authority to add to our hydro power supply, providing cheap and clean power that will keep utility bills low.

We are also asking for funding to keep toxic and polluting storm water runoff out of the Roaring Fork River. And we are asking to renew a reduced sales tax and a use tax on construction materials to keep the internal Aspen transit system running and protecting our air quality.

Clean power: For more than a century, Aspen has been a leader in tapping running water for clean, cheap power that keeps costs down and creates virtually no unhealthy by-products like carbon, mercury or other pollutants. Question 2C does not require a tax increase but does ask for authority to borrow the money to build a small generating plant that will pay for itself and eliminate 5,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.

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The new hydro plant will be near the site of Aspen’s first plan built more than a century ago and powering Aspen as the first city in the West to use electricity generated by hydro power. The new plan will not impinge on the historic minimum stream flow and uses the century old water rights.

Clean air: Aspen’s internal bus system carries 1 million passengers a year, reducing the demand for parking and cutting the amount of pollution that the alternative trips by auto would create. The ballot question, 2A, would actually reduce the present sales tax of .25 percent to .15 percent by subjecting large construction projects (more than $100,000) to a use tax of 2.12 percent.

Construction materials purchased out of Aspen currently don’t pay sales tax.

Aspen’s internal shuttle system is the key to keeping traffic from completely clogging our streets.

Clean water: Storm water runoff from a large portion of the city presently runs unfiltered into the Roaring Fork River carrying pollutants including toxic wastes and oil drippings from the streets into our river. A tax of .65 mills (about $53 per year for a $1 million home) will enable us to intercept about 1,400 tons of waste in traps and bio-settling ponds similar to the current Jenny Adair project.

This new project removes about half of all runoff waste that would otherwise contaminate our gold medal fishing river.

Shorter election seasons: We are asking voters to move ahead with plans for instant runoff voting to eliminate runoff elections. The final plan to do this, saving time and money and shortening the election season, will be brought to council for public input before adoption.

Instant runoff is already used with great success in many states.

No matter how you feel about any of these issues, we hope you will vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

City of Aspen mayor and council

Mick Ireland, J.E. DeVilbiss, Jack Johnson, Steve Skadron and Dwayne Romero