Mayor’s Minute: Budget Edition

Budget Blog

Words by Bill Kight / Community, Government, Mayor's Minute

Hello neighbors,

Earlier this month, Town Council approved the 2018 Town Budget totaling $21 million, after pulling out pass-through items (i.e., gondola, tourism, and museum budgets). I would like to thank the Budget Committee, led by Dan Caton and Jack Gilbride, for working with the Town Manager and Finance Department to develop a budget that includes numerous large-scale investments in our infrastructure, focuses on community development, and maintains a healthy reserve of $12 million while simultaneously reducing debt. Below are a few highlights from the 2018 budget.

Expect to see a reduction in your property tax bill in the coming year as a result of the town paying off debt related to the Conference Center, Heritage Parking Garage, and the Water & Sewer bond. Residential homeowners can expect a reduction of approximately $800 per $1 million in actual property value, while commercial property owners will see a decrease of approximately $2,800 per $1 million in actual property value.


Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrades – $761,000
We are embarking on major upgrades to the Wastewater Treatment Plant located at Lawson Hill. All costs and responsibilities to improve the current facility will be funded by The Town of Telluride and Town of Mountain Village, 70%/30% respectively. The two main goals are:

  1. Upgrading facilities to comply with new federal treatment and outflow standards
  2. Increasing capacity to manage current and future demand

The project is currently estimated to cost Mountain Village $10 million over the course of the next five years, with approximately $761,000 budgeted to be spent in 2018. We will determine early next year, in conjunction with Telluride, whether to seek bond funding for this critical infrastructure upgrade. Both towns are also looking at how to distribute some of the cost of these improvements to other users of the facility in future years.

Ski Ranches Water System Improvement Plan – $250,000
The Ski Ranches water system has the oldest water infrastructure in the Mountain Village water system, which has been prone to ongoing, major leaks. Also, the water from this system would be critical to firefighters responding to areas south of Mountain Village Blvd. The plan is phased to replace the aging infrastructure over the course of many years and will commence in the summer of 2018.

Water Well Power Generator – $150,000
We currently lack backup power to provide water services should we experience an extended power outage. Given the numerous power outages experienced over the years, the Public Works Department will be installing emergency power generators to essential water wells and tanks.

Town Hall Center Subarea Plan – $75,000
In 2016, the Telluride Ski ResortTelluride Mountain Village Owners Association (TMVOA), and the town came together, formed a working committee, and hired an outside firm to focus on creating a welcoming sense of arrival and enhancing resident and visitor amenities in the Town Hall Center Subarea. In 2018, this committee will work together towards implementing the approved projects and infrastructure upgrades.

Village Center Subarea Plan- $150,000
The Village Center Subarea Committee is launching a holistic study of the core to determine how we can best meet the vision of a vibrant and robust Village Center. Once again, the committee will work with an outside design firm to meet three main goals:

  1. Review existing and future plans for an engaging Village Center
  2. Determine if infrastructure upgrades are necessary to meet our future goals
  3. Conduct a review of undeveloped parcels in the Village Center

Similar to the Town Hall Subarea process, numerous public workshops will be held to gather input and share the committee’s progress. We hope you are able to participate in this important process as it is essential that the Village Center continues to be not only our commercial hub but an integrated community gathering space for our residents and guests.


Technology Audit – $110,000
The town will be contracting with an outside firm to perform an audit of its IT systems to ensure we are protecting against cybersecurity threats. An audit of our Broadband services will also be conducted to ensure our Broadband systems are sufficient for our growing needs and that we have robust redundancy protections in place.

Employee Compensation – To be determined based on merit reviews
Based on resident feedback, the town hired an independent consultant in 2017 to review and compare town employees’ salaries and benefits to comparable towns such as Telluride, Crested Butte, and Aspen. Based on the consultant’s recommendations, Council voted that wages should be at 95% of the market average, and employees who currently do not fall within their wage range be increased to meet the range, depending on the results of each employee’s merit review.

Additionally, we will be reviewing and making necessary adjustments to the town’s employee benefit plan to bring it more in line with other municipalities.

New Staff Hires
Based on continued increasing activity levels and visitor traffic, Council voted to approve an additional police officer with the caveat that we need a more consistent Community Services and Mountain Village Police presence in the Village Center. The vote to hire an additional officer will return the Police Department to 2012 staffing levels. This was the only new position approved for hire in 2018.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me or any of your other Council members with any questions or concerns you may have.

Happy Holidays,

Laila Benitez
Mountain Village Mayor

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

Mountain Village Center to San Sophia Gondola Station Closure Scheduled

Words by Bill Kight / Community, Transportation

On Thursday, December 14 from 6:30 a.m. to midnight, the Town of Mountain Village will perform scheduled gondola maintenance and close the section of gondola running between Town of Mountain Village and San Sophia Station (mid-station). Gondola operations will resume regular operating hours Friday, December 15 at 6:30 a.m.

Section one of the gondola running between the Town of Telluride and San Sophia Station will remain open during regular operating hours for Telluride Ski Resort’s Skier Access. Additionally, the gondola line between Mountain Village Town Hall and the Village Center will operate as scheduled from 6:30 a.m. to midnight.

During the closure, to help move guests and residents between the two towns, the Mountain Village Transportation Department and the Town of Telluride’s Galloping Goose will provide bus service to supplement gondola service to run until the gondola mainline reopens on Friday morning. Passenger pick-up and drop-off locations include Oak Street Gondola Plaza, the San Miguel County Courthouse, Mountain Village Town Hall and Blue Mesa; buses will run approximately every 20 minutes.

For more information on Mountain Village’s transportation services, visit For information on Mountain Village, contact Marketing and Business Development Director Bill Kight at (970) 369-6430 or email.

Extended Gondola Hours Continue for the Winter Season

Words by Special Contributor / Community, Transportation

To support local businesses and promote safe late-night transportation, this winter the gondola will run on Friday and Saturday from 6:30 a.m. until 2 a.m. The new weekend hours will run beginning on December 15, 2017 through April 8, 2018.

The extended hours were made possible through a collaborative and cost-sharing effort by the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association (TMVOA), Town of Mountain Village and Town of Telluride. The gondola will continue regular operating hours of 6:30 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday.

Accordingly, TMVOA has extended Dial-A-Ride in Mountain Village from 6:45 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday to ensure Town of Mountain Village residents and their guests have safe ground transportation to their homes. 

Photo credit: Ryan Bonneau.

Snow Daze Travel + Leisure

Words by Special Contributor / Community, Recreation

Thank you Travel + Leisure and writer, David Amsden!  Make sure to read this amazing article about Telluride and the community that inspires…

” And then there were the locals, an implausibly fit array of characters who seemed drawn from different chapters in Telluride’s history, all of whom emitted the distinct glow of people in their prime.” – David Amsden, for Travel + Leisure. Read the full article here.


Photo credit: David Amsden

Coffee with a Cop

Words by Special Contributor / Community, Event

Join the Mountain Village Police Department for Coffee with a Cop, a free event to meet our local officers and discuss community issues over a cup of coffee.

Coffee with a Cop provides a unique opportunity for community members to ask questions and learn more about the department’s work in Mountain Village. The majority of contacts law enforcement has with the public happen during emergencies, or emotional situations. Those situations are not always the most effective times for relationship building with the community, and some community members may feel that officers are unapproachable on the street. Coffee with a Cop breaks down barriers and allows for a relaxed, one-on-one interaction.

This event takes place Tuesday, December 12 from 2 p.m  to 4 p.m. at Telluride Coffee Company in Mountain Village’s Heritage Plaza.

For more event information, contact Mountain Village Police Department by email, (970) 728-9281, visit our event page and join our Facebook event!

Design Review Board Community Development Code Work Session

Words by Bill Kight / Community, Development

The Town of Mountain Village in partnership with the Telluride Mountain Village Homeowner’s Association (TMVOA) is holding a Special Design Review Board (DRB) Work session to discuss the Town of Mountain Village’s Community Development Code (CDC) amendments to broaden Village Center roof material regulations.

The meeting will be held on December 12 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to discuss alternative and appropriate roofing materials while keeping the intent of a distinct Mountain Village Center with a unified design, ski resort or mountain vernacular theme. The town will also explore design intent, color considerations, material considerations, roof assemblies, and related topics that also include snow shed, safety, and maintenance, in addition to a site walk of the Village Center.

The CDC requires that roofing material in the Village Center consist of concrete tile or synthetic materials that emulate an actual concrete tile in the color of burnt sienna. The community wishes to modify the existing regulations for reasons including the concrete tile design theme feels outdated, it is intensive to maintain as the individual tiles must be replaced periodically due to damage and wear, and the roof tile is no longer being manufactured or otherwise limited in its availability.

The Town of Mountain Village and TMVOA intends to continue the roofing discussion at future DRB meetings including a public open house next year. The town plans to complete reviews and proposes CDC regulation amendments by early spring of 2018.

Visit our Event for details.

Telluride Opening Day Pushed To December 7

Ski In Powder

Words by Special Contributor / Community

Telluride Ski & Golf announced today that they have pushed back their opening day until Thursday, December 7. Snowmaking temperatures have not materialized over the past seven days limiting operations and productivity.

The latest forecasts do call for a meaningful change in the pattern by the middle of this week with colder temperatures becoming the norm as we move into early December.

Donation Day – Wednesday, December 6 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Opening Day – Thursday, December 7 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

  • Lifts will run from 9 a.m. to  4 p.m. Visit for a full listing of open lifts and trails.
  • Gorrono Ranch and the Saloon will open for the season with additional on-mountain restaurants to open as terrain expands.
  • Ski School, Nursery & Eco Adventures will begin operations on Opening Day. Lesson offering will be based on available terrain.
  • Effective December 7the Chondola will be open with gondola cabin access only. Lift access will begin as terrain opens for the season.

For more information visit or call (970) 728-6900.


Opening Day Announcement & Thanksgiving Activities

Words by Special Contributor / Community, Event, Recreation, Transportation

Telluride Ski Resort has delayed its opening day to Friday, December 1 and is targeting the following dates and activities:

The snowmaking team has worked for weeks to make snow, primarily above 11,000 feet, as temperatures have permitted. The resort’s increased snowmaking capability will allow the system to produce more snow as temperatures continue to drop.

For up-to-date information on snow conditions and Opening Day please visit, Telluride Ski Resort’s Snow Report, their Twitter page or by calling (970) 728-6900.

Thanksgiving Snow Jam

During Thanksgiving holiday weekend, guests can find a variety of activities available in Mountain Village including sledding and a rail park at the base of Chair 4 (Village Express). Activities are free to the public beginning Thursday, November 23 through Sunday, November 26 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Participants are required to have a “free activity ticket” and a signed waiver from the Mountain Village Ticket Office, below gondola plaza. Children under the age of 18 must have a parent present to participate. Sleds will be provided.

Thanksgiving Dinner & Restaurant Operations

In addition to on-snow activities, Allred’s and Altezza at the Peaks Resort will open Wednesday, November 22 for the season with special Thanksgiving menus. Reservations are encouraged. For more information call Allred’s, (970) 728-7474 or Altezza, (970) 728-2525.

Tomboy Tavern (Lunch, Apres & Dinner starting Tuesday, November 21), Crazy Elk Pizza (Lunch, Apres & Dinner starting Monday, November 20), and Siam’s Talay (Breakfast & Dinner starting Friday, November 24) will also open for the winter season.


The Inn at Lost Creek and Telluride Resort Lodging re-open for guest stays. The Peaks Resort & Spa re-opens for guests arriving on or after Wednesday, November 22

Ski School, Eco Adventures & Child Care

Services are not available during the Thanksgiving holiday and will begin Saturday, December 2 for Opening Day.

Gondola Operations

The gondola will open as scheduled Friday, November 17 between Telluride, Mountain Village and the Gondola Parking Garage. Hours of operation are 7 days a week from 6:30 a.m. to midnight.

The Chondola (Chair 1) will begin operations when the ski resort opens for the season. The Town of Mountain Village will run shuttles between The Meadows / Big Billies, Town Hall / Gondola Parking Garage, Blue Mesa and Village Center. Visit Bus and Dial-A-Ride for schedules.






SMART Extended Service to Lawson Hill Begins November 17

Words by Special Contributor / Community, Transportation

The San Miguel Authority for Regional Transportation, SMART, is excited to announce that expanded public daily service to and from Lawson Hill is now in effect. In cooperation with the Town of Telluride, Galloping Goose bus service has been extended on weekday evenings between 6-10 p.m. Buses will run between Telluride and Lawson Hill every 30 minutes and will stop in Upper Lawson Hill. On weekends, buses will leave every 30 minutes between 7-10 a.m. and evenings from 4:30-10 p.m. The extended Lawson Hill service is free to riders. The SMART Board unanimously approved extended service at the November 9, 2017 SMART Board Meeting.

Additional routes and times are available here.

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