The Aspen Chamber Resort Association has detailed how it’s not spending tax dollars on a campaign against a city ballot question. The Chamber is under fire for participating in a push to defeat Referendum 1. If passed, it would require a public vote for certain kinds of development. Critics say a publicly funded organization like the Chamber should not be using taxpayer dollars to defeat the referendum.
Debbie Braun is President and CEO of the Chamber, and explains three ACRA workers have spent time on the campaign. That includes Braun, her assistant, and a third employee. Braun maintains they’re all funded by the Chamber budget, separate from the taxpayer-funded destination marketing staff. Braun describes the work so far as mainly posting campaign materials on Facebook, information already developed by folks running the campaign.
“I don’t think I’ve put more than, between [my assistant] Nicole and I combined, maybe just a few hours into it, ” said Braun on Tuesday. Braun firmly points out ACRA is participating in the campaign and not spearheading it. Aspen resident Derek Johnson is the main organizer. Braun expects the effort overall to cost about $5000, some of it already dedicated to newspaper ads and lawn signs. Those are supposed to be paid for by campaign funds being raised now, or by individual supporters.