September Mayor’s Minute

Mayor's Minute

Words by Dan Jansen / Mayor's Minute

Dear neighbors,

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.

Warm Regards,
Dan Jansen
Mountain Village Mayor

August Mayor’s Minute

Mayor's Minute

Words by Dan Jansen / Mayor's Minute

Dear neighbors,

Thank you for the trust you have placed in me and our new colleagues on Town Council. During the election I realized that we should be communicating more and these emails represent one option. I will try to send out a few thoughts before each Town Council meeting about what has happened recently, and what we will be working on in the upcoming meeting. My goal is to keep these brief by highlighting only a few topics that might be of interest.

Our July meeting represented an opportunity to seat a new Town Council. Bruce MacIntire, Laila Benitez, and Dan Caton joined me on the Council from a field of 13 candidates. Council then elected me as your mayor and Marty McKinley as our mayor pro tem. I would again like to thank John Howe, Dave Schillaci and Jonette Bronson for their years of service on our last Council. The new Council had a fairly light agenda with a series of routine land use matters, staff reports and financial updates. We had an informative worksession on our election and voter registration processes. It was also great to see the strong economic position of the town with strong reserves, growing sales tax and development revenues, and good cost control. If you would like more specifics, please review minutes from that meeting.

Our August 20 meeting this week will have some interesting sessions including a worksession on the growing bear problem in Mountain village. The 2016 budget process is also kicking off with an important worksession discussing ‘top-down’ budget priorities that the Town Council would like our Budget and Finance Committee to develop plans around. There will also be a worksession on vending carts in our plazas: how many, what types, and when/where they operate. As I will be out of the country, our new mayor pro tem will be leading the meeting. A full agenda has been posted on our website, and as always, we would welcome your input by any means you are comfortable with, and hope to see you at the meeting.

Warm Regards,
Dan Jansen
Mountain Village Mayor

Mountain Village celebrates safe communities August 4

Public Safety

Words by Nichole Zangara / Event

Bringing together community members and emergency responders, the Mountain Village Police Department is hosting the fourth annual National Night Out Tuesday, August 4. From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., the community is invited to join their neighbors, police and fire department teams at the Meadows Parking Lot (Adams Ranch Road) for a free ice cream social and tours of police cars, fire trucks and ambulance. Free gun safety locks will be available and the Telluride Fire District will offer free blood pressure readings. In addition to this year’s festivities, all children 17 and under may enter a drawing to win great prizes.

National Night Out, a part of the National Association of Town Watch, involves over 38 million people in 16,000-plus communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide. This well-known and celebrated annual event was designed to heighten community awareness of safety and fire prevention issues, as well as to strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnership.

“This is National Night Out’s 32 year, and we look forward to promoting future generations of police-community partnership through an evening of fun,” said Lieutenant Rachelle Redmond.

For more event information, contact the Mountain Village Police Department at (970) 728-9281.

Mountain Village greens its gondola with energy-efficient LED lighting

Relight Mountain Village

Words by Nichole Zangara / Environment

The Mountain Village gondola to Telluride is already a green machine: its existence keeps cars off the road and prevents an estimated 45,000 tons of carbon dioxide in vehicle emissions from entering the environment annually.

However, this spring the alpine resort community, Mountain Village, took their greening one step further by installing energy-efficient LED lighting throughout all gondola terminals, a project that is expected to reduce the electricity used for lighting by 70 percent and overall carbon emissions by another 100 tons per year.

“Many thanks to the Mountain Village gondola maintenance staff who worked diligently throughout the spring closure to install the new lighting in time for summer. As the region’s number one tourist attraction, the gondola serves 2.5 million riders every year and is an excellent opportunity to promote energy efficiency to our residents and guests alike,” said Deanna Drew, the town’s environmental services director.

The Town of Mountain Village was incorporated in 1996 to compliment the historic community of Telluride and to host the world-class Telluride Ski and Golf Resort. Moreover, it was always a vision of the original founders that the town be a pedestrian-friendly community where guests can leave their car behind and access the surrounding mountains by a free and environmentally-friendly public transportation system.

“The gondola is an integral part of the Mountain Village/Telluride lifestyle,” explained Drew. “It deserves to be as green as possible.”

Mountain Village hired longtime resident and energy-efficient lighting design expert Chris Myers from enLIGHTen of Telluride for the project. In total, 338 fixtures and bulbs were upgraded, which are estimated to reduce the gondola’s overall electricity by five percent and save over 100,000 kilowatt hours per year.

”The newer more inviting LED lighting not only saves electricity and reduces carbon emissions, it also improves the gondola appearance and experience,” said Myers. “It is really heartening to see our local governments take such strides in making intelligent decisions for saving energy and protecting our environment.”

The project cost approximately $30,000, with $12,000 reimbursed from San Miguel County through the Green Projects Grant Program, administered by EcoAction Partners, and another $10,000 in estimated rebates from San Miguel Power Association.

“The EcoAction Partners Green Projects Grant Program was funded by San Miguel County through a one-time energy use fee. All awarded projects measurably reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency and other innovative means. Once all projects are complete, over one billion pounds of carbon will be reduced for the lifespan of the projects, which is typically 20-plus years,” said Drew.

In 2014 the Mountain Village government reduced its overall energy use and greenhouse gas emissions 22 percent below 2010 levels, including a five percent reduction in gondola emissions. Before the grant and rebate are applied, the project has a simple payback period of 2.2 years and a 46 percent return on investment.

The Ride Festival kicks off with a free concert in Mountain Village; gondola hours extended

The Ride Festival An Evening of Rock and Roll

Words by Nichole Zangara / Event

Two bands, Ayron Jones and The Way and The Temperance Movement, will take center stage for an evening of rock and roll in Mountain Village July 10. As part of The Ride Festival, this free show runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Sunset Plaza, and is made possible by the Town of Mountain Village and The Ride Festival.

About the Artists (Excerpts provided by The Ride Festival)

Ever since Jimi Hendrix gatecrashed London and Led Zeppelin were “Going To California” there’s been a trans-Atlantic crosstalk that informs great rock ‘n’ roll. The newest addition to this fine tradition is blues-drenched, soul-dripping UK five-piece The Temperance Movement. Live on arrival, their 12-song self-titled debut album was released in the United States on February 3, 2015 via Fantasy/Concord. “We’re just a bunch of mates wanting to make music together,” is guitarist Paul Sayer’s simple thesis. The results suggest something more.

In 2010 guitarist Ayron Jones started Ayron Jones and The Way, a three-piece blues rock band. By the summer of 2012, the young band had been making appearances on local Seattle radio shows, and had opened for the legendary Robert Cray. The band soon grabbed the attention of the local media and more importantly, Seattle Hip-Hop icon and Grammy award-winning rapper, Sir Mix A-Lot. After seeing the band perform live, Mix A-Lot approached the band and offered to produce their album. The group accepted the offer and they immediately began recording.

Transportation & Common Consumption Area

The towns of Mountain Village and Telluride are connected by a three-stage gondola system starting at Town Hall Plaza in Mountain Village and ending in Telluride at Oak Street Plaza. It takes about 13 minutes to get from one town to the other. During The Ride Festival, gondola operating hours are from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday through Sunday. Expect long lines during peak times. Dial-A-Ride and the Meadows bus will operate until 2 a.m. Friday through Sunday, too, and the Common Consumption Area will be in effect for the Friday concert.

Voters elect Jansen, Benitez, Caton and MacIntire to serve on Mountain Village Town Council; ballot question one prevails

Dan Jansen

Words by travisscheidegger / Election

Incumbent Dan Jansen, Laila Benitez, Dan Caton and Bruce MacIntire were elected to Mountain Village Town Council Tuesday. They will join current councilmembers Cath Jett, Marty McKinley and Michelle Sherry who were not up for re-election. The newly elected councilmembers will serve four-year terms.

The Mountain Village electorate also voted in favor of limiting the number of units that could ultimately be built on Lot 640A, formerly known as Telluride Apartments. Ballot Question One, a citizen-initiated ordinance that limits the number of units to 45, received 219 yes votes while Ballot Question Two, which would have limited the number of units to 60, failed.

Of the 821 mailed ballots, 422 were cast either by mail or in person.

At the July 16 Mountain Village Town Council Meeting, the newly elected councilmembers will be sworn in. Subsequently, members of Town Council will appoint the positions of mayor and mayor pro-tem.

The Numbers

Listed in the same order as they appeared on the ballot, following is the number of votes each candidate received, and the number of votes for each ballot question.

  • Dan Jansen: 224
  • DavidSchillaci:137
  • LailaBenitez:197
  • BruceMacIntire:149
  • JonetteBronson:75
  • Dan R. Garner: 114
  • John E. Howe: 41
  • JeffreyFasolo:13
  • Dan Caton: 196
  • Jonathan Greenspan: 120
  • Suse Connolly: 114
  • Brain Kanaga: 90
  • Richard Child: 73
  • Ballot Question One: 219 Yes, 180 No
  • Ballot Question Two: 199 Yes, 204 No

For more information about the election results, contact Town Clerk Jackie Kennefick at [email protected].

Mountain Village installs a second waterline; trail closures imminent

Water and Sewer

Words by Nichole Zangara / Utilities

It has always been part of the Mountain Village blueprint: a second waterline that would help serve the entire town and neighboring communities, and increase water flow capabilities in the case of a fire.

Construction of this waterline began this week near the Wapiti tanks, located between the top of Lifts 5 and 7, and the San Joaquin tank, located just below the top of Lift 10 on the Double Cabin ski run. The town anticipates construction will last through the end of October. Due to this project, over the next month several popular hiking and biking trails in and surrounding Mountain Village will be partially closed, and on a few occasions completely closed, for safety reasons. These trails include the Basin Trail, Sheridan Trail, Prospect Trail and Village Trail; trail signage will denote any closures.

Once this project is complete, water will travel through three pipes which in turn will provide better water flow for the town’s water customers who live in the lower areas of Mountain Village, Ski Ranches and West Meadows. According to the Mountain Village Water Department, water rates will not change once this project is complete though a number of water customers will be affected short-term.

“Approximately 50 homes will experience reduced water pressure and 10 homes will not have access to water for approximately 10 hours when the crew ties in the waterline with the San Joaquin tank,” explained Marketing and Business Development Director Nichole Zangara Riley. “When this occurs, we will provide notification and ample time for them to plan accordingly. In advance, we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”

The waterline project, funded by the town’s Water and Sewer Fund and two separate $30,000 grants from the Colorado Water Conservation Board and Southwestern Water Conservation District, is estimated at $1.4 million. For updates on trail closures, visit

Local organizations bring business services and programs to San Miguel County

Business Development

Words by Nichole Zangara / Business Development

There is a lot that goes into starting, developing, and growing a business in rural San Miguel County, so local organizations offer a number of programs and services to help with this endeavor. To learn more about these programs and services and how to gain access to them, the towns of Mountain Village and Telluride, West Central Region 10 Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Region 10, and Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA) are hosting Business at Elevation. This free event will be held in Mountain Village Town Hall at 10 a.m. June 22 and will cover topics such as free small business consulting, small business loans, and Enterprise Zone tax credits.

“Mountain Village is committed to current and aspiring small business owners and entrepreneurs by playing a support role in fostering a strong business community. One way to show the town’s support is to bring tangible programming and services to San Miguel County,” said Nichole Zangara Riley, director of marketing and business development for Mountain Village. “Business at Elevation is an event that is inclusive of anyone who wants to engage the business community and be part of its fabric. It is also important to note that the discussion on June 22 isn’t a one-way street, but rather a two-way conversation as the information presented by Region 10 and the SBDC is important but what is more important is to hear from attendees so Mountain Village and others can provide services and programs that have value to the business community.”

Business at Elevation will stream live at Light fare and drinks will be served.
New SBDC Satellite Office | Small Business Consulting Services

Due to an increase in demand and support from local government and TVA, a satellite office has expanded to include San Miguel County and Ouray County. According to Region 10’s Small Business Resource Director Vince Fandel, the West Central SBDC program has been building slowly over the past year with robust programs in Montrose and Delta counties. After receiving requests from TVA and the Town of Mountain Village to expand its program to include San Miguel County, Fandel contacted the state’s SBDC office and the SBDC’s host, Western State Colorado University, requesting a full satellite expansion. The satellite office opened officially in March.

A popular and invaluable service offered by the SBDC is free access to one-on-one business consulting. According to Fandel, two consultants who live in the region were screened and are now certificated to serve the area’s small business owners and entrepreneurs. To access this service, San Miguel County business owners may register online and in turn will be paired with a consultant to discuss in confidential meetings an array of topics like business planning, feasibility analysis, valuation, accessing capital, financial reports and analysis, social media strategies and website development, access to capital, just to name a few. Fandel said that through the consultation process, business owners and entrepreneurs have access to a number of tools like a business health assessment using ProfitSense, which generates a report on the health of your business based on data such as tax returns. In an effort to better serve San Miguel County, the SBDC is also recruiting more business consultants who are interested in confidential, one-on-one consulting and have expertise in marketing and business plans, financials, e-commerce insight, and website analysis. Qualifications to become a consultant vary depending upon the individual’s expertise.

“With the start of TVA, more and more entrepreneurs and small businesses owners have emerged and requested access to mentors and advisors to help them grow their business,” explained TVA Director Thea Chase. “SBDC is a national resource that has provided this assistance for over 40 years, but until now service to our community was limited. We are excited to work with Region 10 and the towns to build a robust network of consultants to help our local business community and entrepreneurs start and grow successful companies in the region.”
Small Business Loan Program

Through the Small Business Resource Center, a division of Region 10, business owners may apply for a small business loan without the regulatory burdens that most banks work under and are funded through state and federal agencies. Per Region 10’s website, over the past 30 years the Business Loan Fund has assisted 250 local small businesses and non-profits with over $9 million in loans. Loans typically range from $5,000 to $250,000 with fixed rates and a maximum term of 10 years or less. Moreover, the Fund focuses on loans that create or retain jobs or that expand businesses needed in the growing regional economy. Accepted use of funds includes working capital, equipment, inventory and other supportable expenditures.
Enterprise Zone Tax Credits Program

A number of businesses fall within the Enterprise Zone. This includes any business located in incorporated and unincorporated areas in San Miguel County, excluding the Town of Telluride. According to Region 10, if one’s business is located within the Enterprise Zone, they can apply for tax credits. Tax credits include three percent investment tax credit, $1,100 new employee credit, $1,000 Employer Sponsored Health Insurance Tax Credit, and others. The program was created by Colorado legislature to promote a business-friendly environment in economically distressed areas by offering state income tax credits that incentivize businesses to locate and develop in communities. Taxpayers investing in Enterprise Zones can earn a credit on their Colorado income tax by planning and executing specific economic development activities. In addition, one could contribute to the Small Business Resource Center which would qualify for the Enterprise Zone tax credit since the Center is also an Enterprise Zone project.

To learn more about these services and programs, visit

Telluride Bluegrass Festival kicks off in Mountain Village with a free concert; gondola hours extended

FirstGrass Concert

Words by Nichole Zangara / Event

Grammy-winner Rhiannon Giddens along with her bandmates and the string-infused quintet Fruition will join forces on the concert stage in Mountain Village for the Seventh Annual FirstGrass Concert June 17. As part of the 42st Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival, this free show runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Sunset Plaza, and is made possible by the Town of Mountain Village and Planet Bluegrass.

“Rhiannon is going to be one of the biggest takeaway buzzes of the festival, so it’s a thrill to have her on this FirstGrass lineup,” said Brian Eyster, vice-president of communications for Planet Bluegrass. “She won a Grammy with Carolina Chocolate Drops, her solo record is one of the hottest things of the year in roots music, and just last month she was nominated by the Americana Music Awards for ‘Artist of the Year’ and ‘Album of the Year’.”

After the show, stick around for the 14th Annual Bluegrass Kickoff Party as Yonder Mountain String Band plays to a sold-out crowd at the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village. Doors open at 8 p.m. with the show beginning at 9 p.m.; all ages welcomed. For those without a ticket, take advantage of the culinary options in Mountain Village.

Festival Transportation & Parking

The towns of Mountain Village and Telluride are connected by a three-stage gondola system starting at Town Hall Plaza in Mountain Village and ending in Telluride at Oak Street Plaza. It takes about 13 minutes to get from one town to the other. During the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, gondola operating hours are from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Expect long lines during peak times. For those needing a ride to their vehicle parked on town roadways, the Planet Bluegrass Bus will pick up festivarians at Town Hall Plaza and drop off passengers near their vehicle. The bus will run Thursday through Sunday from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. To assist with locating one’s vehicle, signs denoting specific parking zones – A through G – will be erected. Vehicles left on Mountain Village roadways after 12 p.m. Monday, June 22 will be towed at the owner’s expense. In addition, Dial-A-Ride will remain open until 2:30 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Since the Town of Mountain Village becomes inundated with parked vehicles during the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, the town has set aside specific parking spaces for its residents and businesses from Wednesday, June 17 through Sunday, June 21. Mountain Village residents who have procured a parking permit can park in the Town Hall Plaza Parking lot. Twenty-six spaces located along the rock wall are designated for permit holders and are available on a first-come, first-served basis; overnight parking is not allowed. Additionally, six resident-only parking spaces are located on the top level of the Gondola Parking Garage though residents may park anywhere in the garage. Resident parking permits are also valid in the North Village Center lot; overnight parking is not allowed.

Individuals and festivarians without parking permits must park their vehicles where directed by parking staff once the Gondola Parking Garage is full. The North Village Center pay-to-park surface lot is another parking option though overnight parking is not allowed. Short-term parking will be available for those doing business in Mountain Village; times will be enforced. Alternatively, for those parking, shopping, dining or recreating in Mountain Village, we encourage the utilization of Heritage Parking Garage, located off Mountain Village Boulevard across from Hotel Madeline. The first hour is free and then $2 for each hour until exit, $35 maximum in a 24-hour period.
Common Consumption Area

For the FirstGrass Concert, the Common Consumption Area is in effect. According to state law, consumption of alcoholic beverages in public areas, including Sunset Plaza, is not permitted. Alcoholic beverages may be purchased from licensed establishments and must be consumed on the premises. Please do not bring alcohol into the concert area.

Market on the Plaza is a summer mainstay in Mountain Village

Market On The Plaza

Words by Nichole Zangara / Event

Nothing says summertime in Colorado like an open air market, especially amid the sun-soaked scenery of Mountain Village Center. So beginning June 17, the paver-laden Heritage Plaza will once again be teeming with white tents and Colorado-proud vendors as the Market on the Plaza returns to Mountain Village.

“We are happy to announce that not only are last year’s vendors returning but also a number of new vendors who are certainly helping to create an open air market that offers a wide variety of products,” said Nichole Zangara Riley, director of marketing and business development for Mountain Village.

In its fifth year, the Market runs every Wednesday through August 19 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and offers patrons some unconventional variety. Of course the usual, and much desired, products will be available: produce, dairy, herbs and seasonings, and prepared foods. But Heritage Plaza also will be dotted with less traditional vendors selling greeting cards, jewelry, ceramics, textiles, tinctures, and hair pieces, among other items. In addition, the town is partnering with Wilkinson Public Library to bring more entertainment and programming to Mountain Village Center.

“The library’s programming helps round out the market and gives patrons a fun dose of the unconventional,” explained Zangara Riley. “The market’s day-time entertainment will begin July 1 and include youth activities like face painting and summer games. In addition to the entertainment, the library will have a booth setup where they will sell used books.”

To become a Market vendor, contact Market Coordinator Deanna Drew at [email protected]. For Market highlights, visit Market patrons can also share their #marketfavorites with Mountain Village.

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