I hope you are enjoying the early signs of Fall. I wanted to share a few thoughts on the recent and near term activities of the town.
A concerning event occurred recently where a positive reading for bacteria resulted from one of our routine tests of the water system. This activated a series of actions by the State Health Department, as well as our local staff. Obviously, we were relieved to get the “all clear” decision from the Health Department which concluded that the initial results were a “false positive” and that our water system, as confirmed by independent third-party experts, was indeed safe throughout the process. Thanks again to our staff who piled in and handled the situation with speed and professionalism.
Last month our Town Council addressed several important issues. A discussion of employee compensation relative to benchmarks in other resort towns helped to ensure that we are competitive and not out of line with similar towns. Bear break in problems were also discussed and an education plan developed to ensure we all do what we can to keep our residents, visitors and bears safe. Please close and lock your ground-level doors and windows, especially during this late summer/early Fall season. A worksession on vending carts in our town plazas was conducted and a policy of adding appropriate vitality was agreed; a subcommittee will help to ensure that decisions are consistent with our overall vision for the Village Core. Budget goals were also reviewed and discussed to provide guidance to the Budget and Finance Committee. We are holding a fiscally conservative course with a balanced budget, strong reserves, and selective investments including, among other things, a more detailed Town Hall Center Subarea Plan, chondola and gondola strategies, and/or more recreational amenities. Our Budget and Finance Committee will take all of this input and bake it into a first draft budget for Council to review this month.
This week in our Wednesday Town Council meeting, many of these topics will be pushed into action. We will vote on a proposed vending policy. The full Council will get its first look at the total budget as the next step in our multi-month process to approve a 2016 budget, and we will provide guidance for each department to address in forthcoming detailed departmental meetings. While the last Town Council discussion identified many opportunities to invest, now the hard work of prioritizing those opportunities begins in earnest. There are more opportunities than money, so decisions will be needed. Another long running topic, the potential Lofts workforce housing project, will be discussed and a decision will be made as to whether we should add a year to the project timeline to ensure that full community input and the results of the proposed Town Hall Center Subarea planning process can be incorporated. Finally, we will have a worksession on the recent false bacterial reading in our water system to ensure that the community and Council is fully informed, has the opportunity to ask questions, and in the spirit of no emergency going to waste, we will look for learnings as to how best to handle situations like these in the future.
As always, we look forward to your input and participation.
Mountain Village Mayor