Week in review | PostIndependent.com

Week in review

GYPSUM ” In light of the alleged airplane bombing plot uncovered in Britain Thursday, the security alert level for U.S. airports was elevated to “orange.” Because the plot involved the potential use of liquid explosive disguised as beverages or other liquids, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration has prohibited airline passengers from carrying any liquids aboard aircraft.

Even far from the action in Eagle County and Aspen, airline passengers were subjected to more intensive searches and being asked to leave liquids behind.

While airports in other parts of the country have experienced significant delays as a result of the heightened security and canceled flights out of Britain, Ovid Seifers, manager of the Eagle County Airport, said he hasn’t seen much in the way of slowdowns.

In Aspen, it was a similar scene. Airport staffers started spreading the word to passengers before they reached the terminal’s security checkpoint, giving travelers a chance to pack barred items in their checked luggage or return it to their vehicles, according to David Ulane, assistant airport director.

CARBONDALE ” An affordable housing developer who was hoping Glenwood Springs City Council would waive hundreds of thousands of dollars in development fees may settle for a deferment instead.

And despite concern that the change could jeopardize Garfield County’s $1.5 million commitment to the 120-unit apartment project at Glenwood Meadows, county commissioner John Martin said it wouldn’t change the county’s position.

During an affordable housing consortium in Carbondale Wednesday afternoon, Geneva Powell, director of the Garfield County Housing Authority, said a deferment would be different from what developers had told the county they would ask of the city. The county’s commitment was conditional on the city meeting that request, Powell said, who believes the developer’s change in tactic is a mistake.

But Martin said in an interview that he understands the city’s finances remain tight, and that if needed the city, county and housing authority officials could meet to discuss the question of the city’s support.

Halfway through 2006, the city of Glenwood Springs’ sales tax revenues are up a whopping 38.8 percent over the first half of 2005.

Yet City Manager Jeff Hecksel gets a lot more excited about a 6 percent figure.

That’s how much sales tax revenues are ahead of budget for the year. And that’s what’s helping the city gain some breathing room as it continues to rebound from years of slumping sales tax proceeds.

Much of the credit for the year’s increase goes to the Glenwood Meadows commercial development, which began opening last fall. The city had been banking on a big gain from Glenwood Meadows simply to be able to make its budget for the year.

The city’s lodging tax revenues also continue to increase this year. Those revenues, a gauge of tourism activity, are up 20.6 percent for the first half of the year. June revenues were $75,318, up about 18 percent over June of the previous year. Total revenues so far this year are $289,422. The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association contracts with the city to spend the money on tourism promotion.

The U.S. Postal Service and a union differ on whether a proposal to move some regional mail distribution from Glenwood Springs will result in slower delivery.

Glenwood’s regional sorting facility is one of 40 facilities around the country being evaluated for consolidation of operations into other facilities. Some of Glenwood’s sorting may be moved to Grand Junction under the proposal.

The American Postal Workers Union warns that mail delivery could be delayed up to a week under the consolidations, and that mail collections could occur earlier in the day and deliveries later in the day.

But Postal Service spokesperson Al DeSarro said no changes in Glenwood, like anywhere else, would be made unless the current level of service could be maintained.

The Glenwood center mainly serves ZIP codes starting with “816,” such as Glenwood, Aspen, Vail, Avon, Carbondale, Rifle and Craig.

Glenwood’s facility would remain open under the proposal, and continue to process all mail coming in from elsewhere around the country, DeSarro said. The facility has about 39 mail processing employees, he said.

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