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Basalt Town Council Approves 'Basalt Bucks' Program To Stimulate Local Economy

Elise Thatcher
Aspen Public Radio

Basalt Town Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday launching the Basalt Bucks program. In an attempt to help businesses ordered to shut down by Gov. Jared Polis when the pandemic made its way to Colorado, all addresses within the town limits will receive a $20 voucher to use at Basalt restaurants or retail stores.

The program is similar to one the town implemented during the 2008-2009 recession. Basalt town manager Ryan Mahoney said this time is a little different since there are still some restrictions in place to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

"Yes, things have opened up a little bit, but things can close back down just as quickly," Mahoney said at Tuesday night's council meeting. 

That's why the $20 vouchers will only be reedemable between June 15 and August 15. Mahoney said those who feel safe can dine-in at local restaurants or shop in retail stores, but the voucher can also be used for take-out services if residents do not feel comfortable leaving their house or stay-at-home orders are suddenly reimplemented. 

"Things have opened up a little bit, but things can close back down just as quickly."

The Town of Basalt will print 2,700 vouchers for an expected price tag of $43,000 from the town council's discretionary fund. For the time being, the vouchers cannot be used at grocery stores, for marijuana, alcohol or lottery tickets and can only be used at one location for one sale. 

Now that restaurants and retail stores are allowed to reopen statewide, Mahoney said the extra $20 in someone's pocket will encourage them to spend money at local establishments trying to get back on their feet. 

Basalt Town Council will post a list of participating businesses in the coming weeks. 

Basalt Town Council will consider a similar stimulus program in the coming months to allow other Roaring Fork Valley residents to purchase Basalt Bucks at a discounted price. 

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