Ramberg: Here’s an idea | AspenTimes.com

Ramberg: Here’s an idea

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

Aspen Daily News columnist Roger Marolt has eloquently written about the need to support our full-time residents. “When no locals are left, we will be a full-fledged resort like Beaver Creek, a spectacularly lovely and fun place to visit — and nothing else.” He continues, “In a real town, people primarily make their livings taking care of each other.”

So, here’s one idea …

Let’s grant 50% of the excess Wheeler Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT) funds, which are by law to be used to fund local arts and culture programs, to the Aspen School District to pay for its arts programs. By “excess funds,” I’m referring to yearly collections above the $4 million needed to cover the Wheeler’s annual operations. (FYI, the RETT is currently bringing in approximately $10 million per year — which leaves $6 million in excess of what the theater needs.)

The money saved by the Aspen School District from funding its arts programs could then be repurposed by the school board to provide teacher housing stipends, hire additional mental health professionals, create new STEM courses, provide outdoor education scholarships, or pay for any other number of high priorities — all of which help strengthen our local community.

Ken Ramberg