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City of Aspen will hire more employees

In addition to the eight new full-time employees added to the City of Aspen’s roster this year, representing $1.6 million in new spending, three other positions were created and authorized last week by the City Council. of Aspen.

The addition of a Planner in the Community Development Department, an Arts Grants Coordinator in the Red Brick Arts Center and a Facilities Maintenance Mechanic in the Parks and Green Spaces Department totals $322,470 $, which covers six months’ salary this year and ongoing salary demands in the future.

The Board gave first reading approval to new spending as part of the annual Spring Supplementary Estimates in which total spending appropriation increases increased from $168.5 million to $211.3 million.

This $42.8 million increase includes $782,640 in new requests; $31.8 million in operating and capital carry forward requests; $7 million in technical adjustments; and $3.1 million in departmental savings. There are $2.6 million in revenue adjustments and transfers, according to Andrew Kramer, the city’s budget manager.

The three new positions were not incorporated into the original 2022 budget and reflect recommendations to meet staffing needs or support board goals, Kramer told the board at its April 12 regular meeting.

The addition of a planner at an annual cost of $109,370 and a one-time expense of $5,600 is intended to increase the workload of the community development department as part of the residential moratorium that council decreed on December 8.

While the moratorium is in place, staff are undertaking significant research, community engagement and code changes, which require an increase in planning staff for implementation, Kramer said.

The resulting new policies and regulations require additional management capacity after adoption by the board, and the expanded regulatory and programmatic obligations of the department due to moratorium work require more staff, he noted.

Last week, the Board also approved the addition of a facilities maintenance mechanic to the parks and open space fund with a continuing annual salary of $107,200 and $53,600 for six months in 2022.

The position is created to meet all the needs of the city’s facilities, which is not currently happening.

The Aspen Ice Garden seen on Friday, December 10, 2021. Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times.

Six full-time employees have collective responsibility for facility management of the Aspen Recreation Center, Aspen Ice Garden, Red Brick Arts Center, Red Brick Recreation Center, Golf Club of Aspen and the Department of Parks campus buildings.

“This is a position that the Parks and Recreation group has requested to help deal with a very large backlog of facility maintenance service requests across all of our facilities,” Kramer said.

“The full maintenance and facility management needs of these facilities are not fully met on an annual basis, with significant maintenance and management actions being deferred due to the volume of the workload,” Kramer wrote in a memo to the board. “In 2021, facilities team personnel logged 3,188 work orders between the six facilities, with 1,131 of those 2,021 work orders being carried over due to staff availability.”

The third permanent position approved by the board is that of coordinator of artistic programming at an annual permanent cost of $44,100 and a one-time expense of $2,600.

Funding for this position is offset by a transfer from the city’s arts and culture fund and increased revenue through the addition of youth and adult arts education programs and galleries.

In the first year, a 25-40% increase in gallery programming and revenue could likely be achieved. After the first year, a further increase in revenue will be assessed, according to city officials.

The Coordinator will enable the Red Brick Center for the Arts to expand its programming in response to current high demand, broaden its reach and service to the community, and enable the development of new artistic and cultural initiatives and partnerships with the city, Kramer noted.

Finally, the council authorized the creation of three new full-time positions in the City’s recreation department, but they do not require any new expenditure.

The move is intended to move away from temporary work and reduce service disruptions.

“The recreation department is trying out a new staffing model to ensure it has the staff it needs to stay open and keep facilities at the appropriate level,” Kramer told the council.

The first position is a maintenance technician to help clean the ARC during high usage programs and events.

In the first quarter of 2021, the Recreation Department was approved for two temporary full-time Recreation Specialists to support frontline operations.

The Board has given authority to make these two positions permanent.

The recreation department relies on seasonal and part-time staff to operate facilities and programs, but has not been able to maintain basic service levels with the current seasonal and part-time staffing model.

“For the past nine months, we have had to close and reduce facility hours due to seasonal staffing shortages,” Kramer’s memo reads. “The department has had to cancel several programs due to these ongoing seasonal staffing shortages.”

The IEC normally operates 96 hours a week, but a lack of front-line staff is causing major facility closures and reduced hours.

Approved full-time staff will help support the full hours of operation of the ARC and Red Brick facilities.

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