Ward Hauenstein to be sworn in to Aspen City Council on Monday, June 12
Tobacco, free shuttle service and the swearing in of a new elected official will be on Aspen City Council’s docket at its meeting today.
Ward Hauenstein, fresh off a victory over Torre in Tuesday’s runoff election, is scheduled to take his oath as Aspen’s newest city councilman, but only after the city takes final action on its contract amendment with the Downtowner shuttle service and conducts a public hearing regarding raising the purchase price of tobacco from 18 to 21.
Hauenstein replaces one-term councilman Art Daily, who steps down after losing his seat in the May general election. The City Clerk’s Office made the runoff results official Friday, showing Haunstein topped Torre by 27 votes — 932 to 905. Incumbent Ann Mullins won outright in the May contest; she too will be sworn in at the meeting.
Meanwhile, the council will hold a public hearing over whether Aspen will become Colorado’s first local government to put the tobacco-purchase age on the same footing as marijuana and alcohol.
In May, the City Council voted 4-0 to advance the national program called Tobacco 21 to today’s confirmation hearing on the proposal, which was introduced earlier in the year by Pitkin County Medical Officer Kimberly Levin and supported by Aspen pediatricians.
It is legal in Colorado to buy and consume tobacco products at age 18. The Aspen ordinance, while a step toward reducing teen tobacco use, would not pertain to tobacco use for those under 21. The 18-to-20 age group still could legally use tobacco and nicotine products in Aspen under the ordinance.
The city stands to forgo annual revenue of roughly $75,000 from the state tobacco sale tax. One option that would allow the city to still collect the state sales taxes, according to a memo to City Council from City Attorney Jim True and Environmental Health director C.J. Oliver, is to allow just cigarettes for purchase by those 18 and older under the new ordinance, which would still apply to smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes.
The free Downtowner shuttle service, which debuted in June 2016, is up for a contract renewal. The city will decide whether to use $275,782 from its transportation fund to renew the on-demand services contract through April 2018. The current contract with the Florida-based service expires in September.
The Downtowner’s service area is limited to the boundaries of the Castle Creek bridge on the west, the Cooper Avenue bridge on the east, the Roaring Fork River on the north and Aspen Mountain on the south. It is seeking to expand the service to Benedict Music Tent on the Aspen Meadows campus in the West End. Local cab companies are against it, saying it would further cut into their business.
Tonight’s meeting starts at 5 and will be held in City Council Chambers in the basement of City Hall, 130 S. Galena St.
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Kevin Warner started his career with the U.S. Forest Service as a wilderness ranger in 2001. Now he’s taking over the key position as Aspen-Sopris District Ranger.