Mayor's Minute October 2020 Edition

Categories: Mayor's Minute

Hello neighbors,

What a busy, beautiful summer and fall we have had. With the changing of the seasons, we have been quite busy at the Town of Mountain Village and I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight several initiatives Town Council has been working on this past month as we ready for our regular Town Council meeting Thursday, Oct. 15. You may review this week’s council meeting agenda, packet, and Zoom information on our website.

As always, I hope you can join us for tomorrow’s meeting or consider sharing your feedback with us about any of these matters.


Last week, Town Council convened for its annual Special Town Council Worksession focused on the 2021 budget. This focused budget meeting allows council members and staff to review the details of each department’s budget, receive the Grant Committee’s recommendations, and discuss upcoming capital improvement projects.

A first glance and deeper dive into the budget can be found online using the OpenGov Portal. You can also access this tool to take an in-depth review of the town’s past financial reporting, budgeting, and expenses. Stay tuned for a more in-depth email dedicated solely to the 2021 budget, once the budget has been approved.

As you may recall, Town Council drafted and began implementing the COVID-19 Recession Policy in April, which outlines revenue loss parameters that trigger pre-identified spending reductions. As a result, Town Council deferred most 2020 capital infrastructure projects, placed all non-critical staff on a three-month leave of absence, reduced and/or temporarily halted all non-essential municipal services, eliminated all travel and training, implemented a hiring freeze, and initiated additional temporary budget reductions. While local sales tax and development fee proceeds have been much healthier than our initial estimates projected, we are still cautious in our planning for the possibility of these impacts to continue, or potentially, worsen in 2021.

New Legal Team

Earlier this year, Town Council issued a Request for Proposals for Legal Services. After a lengthy and robust selection process, the Town of Mountain Village has hired Garfield & Hecht, P.C. as the town’s new legal representation, with Paul Wisor serving as town attorney. Paul’s resume includes serving as the attorney for the Towns of Avon and Fairplay and City of Fruita where he developed an impressive background in planning and zoning law, employment law, code enforcement, election law, liquor licensing regulations, Colorado Open Records Act, TABOR, economic development matters, and much more related to the day-to-day activities of Colorado municipalities.

Paul, along with support from other attorneys at Garfield & Hecht, will replace the services and roles previously filled by Jim Mahoney and J. David Reed, P.C. On behalf of the entire Town Council team, I would like to sincerely thank David Reed, Jim Mahoney, Sarah Abbott, and Bo Nerlin for their attentive and thoughtful service to our community over the years.

COVID Mitigation & Village Center Vibrancy

This summer the Business Development Advisory Committee (BDAC), in partnership with the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association (TMVOA), purchased additional outdoor seating, umbrellas, heaters, and lighting to prepare the plazas for increased outdoor dining and socializing opportunities that allow for proper distancing. We also worked with our restaurants to increase their online presence to make it easier for you to see what’s on the menu and order online. The summer enhancements have proven to be a hit with our residents and guests alike. This summer the Village Center balanced the needs of safety and social distancing with our need to be with friends and family, while supporting our bars, restaurants, and live musicians.

We want to ensure that this progress continues through the winter, so the Town of Mountain Village is again partnering with TMVOA to offer unique solutions to help support restaurants this winter. Throughout the fall, we will be installing outdoor dining areas made from refurbished gondola cars, insulated outdoor dining pavilions, and yurts in our plazas to offer residents and guests space to socially distance while patronizing Mountain Village’s restaurants and bars. The installations will include seating, lighting, heating, and ventilation - safety continues to be our top priority.

Now, more than ever, our restaurants and retailers need our community’s support - please shop and eat local whenever possible.

Ongoing Commitment
This summer, Mountain Village locals and guests have been a model of how to balance social distancing and taking the necessary safety precautions with still enjoying each other’s company and everything we love about our beautiful town. I ask that we all continue to do our part to reduce the spread of infections by wearing a face covering whenever you are inside a public place of business or riding public transportation. As we have seen in neighboring states and communities, the COVID virus is still active and quick to spread. Let’s work together to keep Mountain Village safe, healthy, and open for our full and part-time residents, businesses, and guests.

Please reach out to me with questions, concerns, or potential assistance you may need or can offer. You may also submit feedback or questions on our website.

Warm regards,
Laila Benitez
Mountain Village Mayor

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