Translator system needs an upgrade
October 20, 2011
I am writing in support of Referendum 1B.
For those of you who don’t know, the Pitkin County translator system is a series of towers that broadcast radio and TV signals throughout the Roaring Fork Valley. When you drive from Aspen to Glenwood Springs and your favorite radio station gets fuzzy, you switch to another frequency on your radio and there it is loud and clear. That’s the translator system.
Have you ever seen a bumper sticker for KDNK or Aspen Public Radio and notice how they have several different frequencies listed? That’s the translator system. Say you quit paying your cable bill or you live in an area where cable is not available, but you can still get TV stations like local favorite GrassRoots TV or major networks for free when you connect the right antennae to your TV. That’s the translator system.
When Pitkin County residents first voted to fund the translator system, there was no Internet, and no one had a cell phone or a PDA. The ballot language called specifically for the money to be used for TV and radio.
Times and technology have changed a lot since then. Though it may be hard to tell from the current ballot language, what is being asked of the voters is to approve the expansion of the use of the translator department funds to include wireless technology, such as Internet, to be available through the translator system.
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The voters are not being asked to increase the budget of the translator department. The translator department is one of the few county departments that has been consistently operating within its budget, even during these challenging financial times. No services have been cut, and no staff have been let go. Instead the translator department has been making improvements to its systems including a recent move to a much cleaner digital TV signal.
Simply put, without any increase to taxpayers, can the money the translator department collects be used for wireless technology services in addition to radio and TV? Allowing the translator department to research and offer Pitkin County residents wireless services will take the translator system into the 21st century and make it an asset that will continue to benefit us all far into the future.
Vote yes on Referendum 1B.
Pitkin County Translator Advisory Board