December Mayor’s Minute

Mayors Minute

Words by Laila Benitez / Community, Government, Mayor's Minute

Hello neighbors,

Mountain Village is ramping up for the holidays and the coming year! Below are some Town Council meeting highlights and upcoming topics. As always, I hope you can join us for this Thursday’s meeting or consider sharing your feedback with us about any of these matters.

November 16 Meeting Highlights

  • Town Council approved Auberge Resorts, LLC as the replacement hotel operator of Hotel Madeline, pending Flynn Property’s purchase, scheduled to close on December 15. Mark Harmon, the founder of Auberge Resorts, shared plans to make ongoing capital improvements, enhance on-site dining options, and he reiterated their long-term commitment to operate the hotel as the premier luxury hotel in the Telluride region.
  • The Ski Ranches Water System Improvement Plan and the corresponding timeline were reviewed. Due to the aging infrastructure, this system has been prone to ongoing, significant leaks that have led to numerous incidents of residential water being shut off to allow for needed repairs. The phased improvement plan will commence in 2018.
  • Council approved numerous updates to the Town of Mountain Village Employer Assisted Housing Program, which was last reviewed in 2007. In an effort to promote employee homeownership, some of the approved changes include: removing the appreciation cap, removing limitations on capital improvements, the addition of a loan repayment requirement for employees who resign or are terminated, and removal of income limitations to better meet the needs for management housing.
  • Planet Bluegrass‘ Telluride Bluegrass Festival requested town consideration for on-street parking for future festivals. Council recognized the economic significance of the festival but expressed that the residential impacts must be better addressed and mitigated. The request and potential solutions will be discussed at a future meeting.

If you would like more specifics about any of these topics, you can review minutes from the meeting or review the meeting video at the town website.

December 14 Agenda Highlights

  • Marketing Telluride Inc. and Colorado Flights Alliance will present their biannual report to Town Council.
  • Town Council will vote to approve the 2018 and revised 2017 budgets. A budget-specific communication will be sent out in the coming week, which will review the funding of upcoming projects and a significant reduction in mill levies.
  • As part of our ongoing efforts to secure workforce housing, Town Council will consider waiving the lottery sales requirement for a deed-restricted unit at Cassidy Ridge that would allow the town to purchase this unit. If approved, we will also consider authorization for the town manager and myself to negotiate the purchase of this condo on behalf of the Town.
  • We will review a Conditional Use Permit request to allow surface parking on a portion of Lot 161CR. The application proposes between 28 to 39 parking spaces intended to provide permit parking for businesses in the Village Center and The Ridge at Telluride.
  • Town Council will hear an update about the ongoing Wayfinding Project. This project encompasses new signage throughout Village Center; along roadways and parking areas; and merchant directories.
  • The Green Team Committee will present their mission statement, guiding principles, and 2018 action plan to Town Council. This committee is made-up of council memberstown staff, residents, Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association (TMVOA), and Telluride Ski & Golf (TSG) staff.

full agenda has been posted on our website; we welcome your input by any means you are comfortable with and hope to see you at the meeting.

Warm regards,

Laila Benitez
Mountain Village Mayor

November Mayor’s Minute

Mayors Minute

Words by Laila Benitez / Government, Mayor's Minute

Hello neighbors,

Though winter is taking its time arriving in Mountain Village, the town is hard at work preparing for the season and planning for the coming year.

October 19 Meeting Highlights

  • Town Council voted unanimously to confirm the appointment of Natalie Binder as the new Town Council member. Based on advice from legal counsel, a motion was necessary to confirm the vote taken by paper ballot at the September meeting. Moving forward all Council votes will be verbal, as prescribed in the Town Charter.
  • The Town Hall Subarea Committee updated us about Phase II of the Town Hall Subarea Plan and we voted to appoint Natalie Binder to fill Cath Jett’s seat on this committee.
  • Additionally, we discussed the overall goals for the 2018 Village Center Subarea and the desire to see a holistic study of the area, which includes existing and future plans for an engaging Village Center, exploring adequacy of the core’s infrastructure, and a review of undeveloped parcels in the village core.
  • We voted to approve, on first reading, an ordinance that would amend Section 3.04.020 of the Municipal Code to adopt statewide standardized sales taxes
    definitions.

If you would like more specifics about any of these topics, you can review minutes from the meeting or review the meeting video at the town website.

November 16 Agenda Highlights

  • Town Council will consider approval of Auberge Resorts, LLC as the replacement hotel operator of Hotel Madeline, pursuant to the criteria outlined in the town’s Hotel Covenants. Such an approval would be conditioned upon sale of the property and the new owner appointing Auberge as the operator of the Hotel Madeline. Auberge, who also operates the Hotel Jerome in Aspen, has stated their commitment to operate the hotel as the premier luxury hotel in the Telluride region.
  • There is a placeholder item for Town Council to potentially consider a term sheet regarding settlement of the 161CR and Ridge at Telluride ongoing litigation. If a mutually agreeable term sheet is presented by this Thursday’s meeting, in an effort to help all parties act expeditiously on a possible resolution, Town Council is prepared to review and potentially approve a term sheet.
  • Town Council will review and vote on first reading of the 2018 and revised 2017 budgets. Once the last substantive changes have been incorporated in the 2018 budget, a budget-specific email will be sent out.
  • We will take a deep dive into the Ski Ranches Water System Improvement Plan. The Ski Ranches water system has the oldest water infrastructure in the Mountain Village water system; this plan lays out a course to replace the aging infrastructure over the next thirty-plus years.
  • Council will consider updating the Town of Mountain Village Employer Assisted Housing Program, which was last reviewed in 2007.
  • Craig Ferguson, with Planet Bluegrass, will be discussing parking in Mountain Village for future Telluride Bluegrass Festivals.

full agenda has been posted on our website; we welcome your input by any means you are comfortable with and hope to see you at the meeting.

Warm regards,

Laila Benitez
Mountain Village Mayor

Mountain Village Recommends $118,000 in Grant Money to Local Nonprofits

Words by Bill Kight / Community, Government

The Town of Mountain Village recommends a combined total of $118,000 to 12 local nonprofit organizations as part of the town’s newly created Community Grant Program. The town received $183,300 in grant requests from 15 nonprofits. Four organizations secured funding for the first time under the new program. San Miguel Educational Fund, San Miguel Mentoring Program, True North Youth Program and Watershed Education Program of the Telluride Institute have received grants of $7,500 or less. Mountain Village’s Community Grant Program was designed to support projects and programs that meet the needs and desires of our residential and business communities and to provide funding fairly, equitably, and consistently by adopting a clear and comprehensive policy.

“Community Grants are our sustained effort to provide support to local organizations, addressing community issues consistent with our mission,” said Town Manager Kim Montgomery.

The town accepted applications from organizations seeking to fund programs, projects, and services that support and promote Community Services (i.e., health and human services, education, athletics, arts and culture, early childhood, or environmental stewardship) that help to support a healthy and robust Mountain Village community.

This year’s recipients include:

EcoAction Partners
San Miguel & Ouray Counties Juvenile Diversion & Services
San Miguel Educational Fund
San Miguel Mentoring Program
San Miguel Resource Center
San Miguel Watershed Coalition
Telluride Adaptive Sports Program
Telluride Community Television
Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club
Tri-County Health Network
True North Youth Program
Watershed Education Program of the Telluride Institute

“As a residential representative for the newly formed Mountain Village grants committee, I had never participated in a selection program that was completely on a level playing field for all of the nonprofits that applied for it. All criteria were weighed evenly and fairly, through a program that was individually evaluated and then shared and debated as a team. The applicants did a wonderful job and it was a difficult decision, but I believe that the public benefit to the community will be recognized,” said Community Grant Community Member Jonathan Greenspan

“The process of working with the Grants committee was efficient and well thought out. We feel grateful to partake in a process that provides funding for so many of the organizations that work hard to serve our community,” added council member Natalie Binder.

The newly formed Mountain Village Community Grant Program is made up of members of the Mountain Village Town Council, the Mountain Village Staff and community members. The committee reviewed requests and provided its funding recommendations to the Town Council. Council accepted the recommendations made by the Mountain Village Community Grant Committee at its October 11 budget meeting. The budget will then be reviewed and adopted at the December Town Council meeting and funds will be dispersed in 2018.

 

For information on Mountain Village and the Community Grant Program, contact Marketing and Business Development Director Bill Kight by email or  (970) 369-6430

 

 

October Mayor’s Minute

Mayors Minute

Words by Laila Benitez / Government, Mayor's Minute

Hello neighbors,

Fall colors may be starting to fade but we are busy here preparing for what promises to be another banner winter.

Last month, Natalie Binder was appointed to Town Council to fill the empty seat left by Paul Oupadia’s resignation. I want to thank all the candidates who stepped up and volunteered to serve our community. While it makes it hard to choose, we are lucky to have so many engaged and highly-qualified community members willing to serve. Before we review last month’s meeting highlights, I would like to share three updates.

  • The Design Review Board and Town Council convened in a special joint meeting on October 5, to review and approve the proposed amendment to add a red-light beacon to the already approved communication tower at the top of Lift 7. The red-light is a requirement of the Federal Aviation Administration and a mandated condition of the crucially-needed upgrades for communication and public-safety. Telluride Ski Resort hopes to have the new tower and upgrades completed by August 2018.
  • On October 11, Town Council convened a Special Town Council meeting focused on the 2018 budget where council members reviewed the details of each department’s budget, received the Grant Committee’s recommendations, and discussed upcoming capital improvement projects. Stay tuned in the next month for a more in-depth email dedicated to the budget.
  • On October 12, the Town of Mountain Village held an open-house to discuss a proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendment to Lot 30, Parcel M, slated in the Comprehensive Plan as a potential flagship hotel site in the Village Center Subarea. We believe public input is a key component of any comprehensive plan and comprehensive plan amendment and were very pleased to see so many neighbors turn out to learn more and share their feedback.

September 21 Meeting Highlights  

  • Town Council approved a new fire mitigation incentive program that will reimburse homeowners up to $5,000 in building permit fees related to replacement of cedar shake roofs with approved fire-resistant roofing materials. The program is funded in partnership with TMVOA and reimbursements will be retroactive to January 2017.
  • Council reviewed the preliminary draft 2018 budget and the results of the recently completed employee salary and benefits comparison study were reviewed.
  • We approved an intergovernmental agreement with San Miguel Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) that will fund the town’s transportation. The proposed funding to the town will be approximately $120,000 for 2018 services.
  • The following appointments to committees and projects were made:

If you would like more specifics about any of these topics, you can review minutes from the meeting or review the meeting video at the town website.

October 19 Agenda Highlights

  • Town Council will hear an update about Phase II of the Town Hall Subarea Plan and an additional council member will also be appointed to this committee to replace Cath Jett.
  • Additionally, we will discuss a proposed work plan and focus for the 2018 Village Center Subarea. Preliminary discussions have been concentrated on landscaping and site improvements of the plaza areas to meet and refine the resident, guest, and business experience and continue to positively augment the plazas. We will also be discussing whether this committee will conduct an infrastructure analysis that would focus on existing and future plans for an engaging Village Center. This analysis could explore whether we have adequate roadways, parking, pick-up and delivery zones, pedestrian pathways, trail integration, and could potentially include a review of undeveloped parcels in the village core.
  • The Telluride Conference Center will provide their annual update.
  • We will have a first reading of an ordinance approving an amendment to the Municipal Code to adopt statewide definitions for sales taxes.

A full agenda has been posted on our website; we welcome your input by any means you are comfortable with and hope to see you at the meeting.

Warm regards,

Laila Benitez
Mountain Village Mayor

Paul Oupada Steps Down from Mountain Village Town Council

TMV

Words by Bill Kight / Government

Mountain Village Town Council member Paul Oupadia announced his resignation from the council on Thursday, August 31 effective immediately.

Paul Oupadia, along with Patrick Berry and Jack Gilbride was elected to Mountain Village Town Council on June 27 to serve four-year terms. They joined current council members Dan Jansen, Laila Benitez, Dan Caton and Bruce MacIntire who were not up for re-election. Following the election, Laila Benitez was elected Mayor of Mountain Village, and Dan Caton was elected Mayor Pro Tem serving two-year terms.

“I have spoken with Paul, and he regretfully has resigned from his town council position due to unforeseen family circumstances. Due to these conditions, he and his wife will be leaving the area,” stated Mountain Village Mayor Laila Benitez.

The Town of Mountain Village Home Rule Charter dictates that within forty-five days after a vacancy occurs in the office of Town Councilor, the remaining members of the Town Council shall, by majority vote, appoint a successor to fill such vacancy, provided no more than three vacancies are to be filled at one time. The appointed Town Councilor shall then serve out the unexpired terms of their predecessor.

Town Council will appoint one new council member by a majority vote at its next regular meeting to be held on September 21.

To qualify one must be a registered elector who has maintained legal residency with the town for at least 120 days immediately preceding the appointment. A Letter of Intent and Candidate Biographical Information Sheet must be submitted via email by 5 p.m. on September 19 to the Clerk’s Office.

For more information, please contact Jackie Kennefick, Director of Administration/Town Clerk by email.

 

Town Council Elects Laila Benitez as Mayor and Dan Caton as Mayor Pro Tem; Newly Elected Town Council Members Berry, Oupadia, and Gilbride Sworn-In

Town Council

Words by Bill Kight / Election, Government

Newly elected council members Patrick Berry, Paul Oupadia, and Jack Gilbride, were officially sworn in as members of the Mountain Village Town Council. Each new member stood before the community and repeated the oath, promising to faithfully carry out the responsibilities of the office. The newly elected Council members will serve four-year terms and will join current council members Dan Jansen, Laila Benitez, Dan Caton and Bruce MacIntire.

Following the Swearing-In Ceremony was the election of the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem positions. The Town of Mountain Village Home Rule Charter dictates the positions to be elected amongst the Council members by a majority vote at its first organizational meeting held after the election. According to the Charter, the new Mayor presides at Council meetings and is recognized as the head of the Town government for all ceremonial, dignitary and legal purposes. In the absence or of the Mayor, the Mayor Pro Tem presides at Council meetings and takes over the powers and duties of the Mayor.

By a 5-2 vote, Laila Benitez was elected Mayor of Mountain Village and Dan Caton was elected Mayor Pro Tem. Benitez has been on the Council since June 2015 and currently serves as the chair of the San Miguel Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART), as well as a member of the Community Grant Committee and the Transportation & Parking Committee.

Caton has been on the Council since June 2015 and currently serves on the Budget & Finance Committee, the Gondola Committee and the SMART Board.

“Congratulations to the new Mayor, Laila Benitez and the new Mayor Pro Tem, Dan Caton. We extend a huge thanks to Dan Jansen for his years of service as Mayor and his continued service on Council. We are excited to begin work with the new and returning Council and look forward to the opportunity to continue serving the Mountain Village community,” said Mountain Village Town Manager Kim Montgomery.

In Mountain Village, the mayor serves a two-year term with the council’s approval. The mayor has a number of responsibilities, including overseeing the town’s finances and budget, enforcing town contracts and many other responsibilities with the town government.

For more information, please contact Jackie Kennefick, Director of Administration/Town Clerk at email.

Mountain Village Holds Election June 27 For Three Open Town Council Seats

MV TC Open Seats

Words by Bill Kight / Election, Government

The Town of Mountain Village will hold a Regular Municipal Election June 27 to elect three Town Council Members. To qualify one must be a registered elector who has maintained legal residency with the town for at least 120 days immediately preceding the June 27 election. A Letter of Intent and Candidate Biographical Information Sheet must be submitted to the Clerk’s Office via email by May 12 at 5 p.m. To learn more, visit townofmountainvillage.com/election.

The three Town Council seats up for election are currently held by council members Cath Jett, Marty McKinley and Michelle Sherry. Jett is termed out after serving two, four-year terms. She first served on Council in 2009 and as mayor pro-tem from July 2013 to June 2015. Councilmember McKinley has decided not to pursue a second term and has served as mayor pro-tem since July 2015. He joined Council in March of 2014 by appointment, filling the seat of former Councilmember Richard Child. Sherry, who is eligible to serve another four-year term, said she has yet to decide if she will run again. She was first elected to serve on Council in 2013. The last regular municipal election held in 2015 had one of its biggest turn outs with 13 candidates vying for four open seats. Once elected, the new Council will convene July 20.

In Mayor Dan Jansen‘s April Mayor’s Minute correspondence he encouraged anyone with interest in local government to consider stepping up and throwing their hat in the ring.

“The experience is fun, it will deepen your knowledge of the community, and I would be more than happy to speak to anyone with interest in running. Our town functions best when our citizens engage, and while it is difficult for some to step forward and serve, I would encourage any interested resident to consider running for Town Council.  It is a great way to deeply understand the key issues facing our town and contributing to the solutions.”

Ballots will be mailed to registered voters between June 5 and June 12, and may be returned either by mail or in person to Town Hall, located at 455 Mountain Village Blvd., by or before June 27 to be counted. On Election Day, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Mountain Village hires firm to conduct benchmarking study

Benchmarking Study

Words by Nichole Zangara / Government

Benchmarking is commonplace within municipalities. It acts as a guide and catalyst. Often times it is rooted in data – subjective and objective – all of which can be assessed and further examined. And although benchmarking doesn’t provide concrete answers, it does help guide elected officials and government leaders to ask the right kinds of questions with the intent of gaining better insights on outputs, costs, and ultimately performance.

Recently, Mountain Village Town Council voted in favor of hiring a firm to conduct such a study. The firm, Mountain State Employers Council (MSEC), will assess the nuts and bolts of current municipal services, closely examine their associated costs, and determine if the quality and level of service is on par with other like resort towns. To begin, MSEC and the town will host a kickoff event June 21 beginning at 5:30 p.m. in Town Hall; this event will be streamed live. The intent of this open house style meeting will be to introduce the project, talk about key steps and milestones, and share an initial list of metrics. Eventually, and most importantly, MSEC will conduct community interviews** and provide opportunities for public comment.

“The objective of this study is not to say town x is more efficient than Mountain Village or vice versa,” said Nichole Zangara Riley, director of marketing and business development. “The value add for this project is to leverage best practices, focus on areas where improvements are needed, and create more efficiency. We can get there by involving our community, asking more questions, and pivoting if and when necessary. Ideally, it would be nice if benchmarking studies provided a black and white roadmap, but they don’t. To add, not all resort towns offer the same level or kinds of services Mountain Village does. This doesn’t mean we can’t use benchmarking to help, it just means we need to approach this with an open mind.”

Founded in 1939 and based in Denver, MSEC is a non-profit organization and the nation’s largest employers organization that conducts more than 50 customized special benchmarking studies each year. Together, MSEC and the town will compare its efficiencies to11-plus other resort towns. That short list includes places like Snowmass Village, CO, Sun Valley, ID, and Telluride. Any exceptional issues, like the fact that Mountain Village operates a gondola, daycare and apartment complex, will be taken into consideration and determined if public data is comparable or even available.

“In recent years Mountain Village has put more emphasis on prudent budgeting and spending while building a reserve fund to carry them through an unforeseeable economic downturn. Although these budget efforts, among other initiatives, are key to running an efficient government, it is good practice to learn from others in order to improve,” said Zangara Riley.

The deadline to complete the benchmarking study is August, a time when staff and Council are forecasting next year’s budget expenditures and revenues. In time, updates about the benchmarking study will be made available on the town’s website.

**To set up an interview with MSEC Consultant Brandon Young, please email him at byoung@msec.org. Any and all Mountain Village residents and business owners are encouraged to participate in the interview process.