Basalt The Basalt Town Council received strong urging from the public Tuesday night to pass a fee for each plastic and paper bag used at the town’s grocery stores.
Town officials confided privately before the meeting that they felt opponents to the fee would dominate the meeting, based on the calls they received in recent weeks. But when it counted most at a public hearing, proponents were loud and clear: Eleven people spoke in favor of the bag fee, while two spoke against.
The council voted 5-1 to approve the bag fee, though the amount will be debated in a second reading of the ordinance next month. Mayor Leroy Duroux was the dissenting vote.
The majority of the Basalt Town Council expressed informal support for a bag fee during a June 28 work session with the Basalt Green Team, a committee of residents who advise the council on environmental issues. The Green Team has lobbied the council to implement the bag fee as soon as possible.
On Tuesday night, the public added extra support.
Basalt resident Auden Schendler said the town should pass the bag fee, then concentrate on bigger environmental issues. A bag fee isn’t all that “radical” anymore because many cities and towns have adopted them, he said.
“If we can’t pass this, we should fire up the diesel-fired margarita blenders,” said Schendler, vice president of sustainability at the Aspen Skiing Co.