The snow is certainty building and the anticipation is growing. With that, we hope to see many of you for Opening Day later this month. It’s sure to be one of the best ski seasons yet.
As for government business matters, last month Mountain Village continued its budget process with a special all-day meeting in which we, as a Council, took some specific actions. First, we approved temporary COWS (Cell Tower on Wheels) so that hopefully Mountain Village residents and guests will have better cell service this season until a permanent solution is provided. Continuing, Council conducted a detailed budget discussion with each town department director which included review of their goals, performance metrics and priorities. This turned into a day full of comments and follow-up questions too numerous to list here, but I encourage you to come to the November 19 Town Council meeting to hear the results. Worth noting, one concern raised by Council was that while many of the budget requests endorsed had merit on their own, in aggregate the level of spending has risen, thus Council needs to look for ways to limit that growth.
In addition, Council discussed the merits of hiring a specialist consultant to benchmark Mountain Village costs versus similar towns to inform next year’s budget process. Though a decision was not reached to move forward with such an idea, a project plan and potential costs will be discussed at a future meeting. That said, for this year, the November 19 meeting will include a review of an analysis that begins with last year’s budget numbers, adjusts for inflation, and then flags every item that represents a material increase. Council guidance from the Finance Department included deferring further staff 401K benefit reductions until Council hires a specialist consultant to analyze options. (I will note that Council was split on the issue of 401k benefits.)
Other informal actions taken by Council last month included increasing the road repaving program budget, examining the Marketing and Business Development budget, and indicating a willingness to support the new producers of Telluride Gay Ski Week as they work to become self-sufficient and Telluride TV as they plan to create a media streaming facility in Mountain Village. The usual array of community grants also received a head nod. All of these ‘actions’ are in draft form until the final budget is approved in December, though November 19 is when Council will take action regarding first reading of the budget ordinance.
Wrapping things up, Council touched on some issues pertaining to 2016/2017 projects. For example, it was noted that the town’s debt for theTelluride Conference Center will be paid off in 2017. That pay-down will result in an almost 1.5 mil reduction, which is effectively a tax cut for you. Moreover, town needs to think about any and all long-range plans for that facility. Council also mentioned the need for a large waste treatment facility project coming up in 2017 that will be shared with the Town of Telluride. The overall project cost could exceed $8 million and Mountain Village’s share could be 35 percent, so we are updating and reviewing an analysis to ensure that we will have adequate water and sewer reserves to cover this large cost.
Other items on the docket for Thursday includes an update from theColorado Flights Alliance, a worksession on the town’s water system, a discussion about supporting Telluride Venture Accelerator, a worksession on converting Village Court Apartment’s energy system, an action item on a new gondola blanket policy, and our usual array of staff/Council updates and standard land use matters.
As always, please reach out if you have comments or join us Thursday, November 19 if you can.
Mountain Village Mayor