Mayor’s Minute 2019 Budget Edition

Mayors Minute

Words by Laila Benitez / Mayor's Minute

Hello neighbors,

Last month, Town Council approved the 2019 town budget totaling $32 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 healthy general fund reserves of $10.2 million while simultaneously reducing debt. Below are a few highlights from the 2019 budget:


Village Court Apartments expansion – $9.4 million to be determined
Preliminary plans were approved for an estimated 49-unit expansion of the Village Court Apartments, which would be paid for through a revenue loan and dedicated affordable housing funds. Project plans are still being finalized and pending Town Council approval. If the project plans are approved, the revenue loan would be funded by the collected rents and dedicated affordable housing funds.

Broadband system fiber capacity upgrades (1G project) – $1.5 million

This past year, the Town contracted with an outside firm to perform an audit of our broadband services to determine if our systems are sufficient for our growing needs, capable of providing robust redundancy protections, and to determine the feasibility of increasing our broadband capacity. Based on the completed study, the town is undertaking a major upgrade to our broadband network infrastructure that will allow us to offer improved 1G fiber services to every home. After completing the request for proposals process, design, and engineering in the first half of 2019, the town aims to begin construction this summer and complete the project by end of year 2020. The overall cost of the two-year project is $3.1 million.

Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant capacity upgrades – $800,000

Major upgrades continue at the  Wastewater Treatment Plant located at Lawson Hill.  All costs and responsibilities to improve the current facility are funded by The Town of Telluride and Mountain Village (65% and 35% respectively).

The two main goals are:

The project is currently estimated to cost Mountain Village taxpayers $5.8 million over the course of the next five years. Conversations with Telluride and key stakeholders are ongoing regarding whether to seek bond funding for this critical infrastructure upgrade. Both towns are looking at how to equitably distribute the cost of these improvements to shared users of the facility in future years. Mountain Village’s existing water and wastewater rates are adequate to cover operating expenditures through at least 2023, afterwards a bond or sewer district will need to be in place.

Trail improvements within Mountain Village – $300,000

Due to recent proposed developments in the Boston Commons area, a new pedestrian bridge will be constructed to maintain the Meadows Trail (between Lawson Hill and Adams Ranch Road). In addition, funds will go towards ongoing trail maintenance throughout Mountain Village.

Ski Ranches water system improvement plan – $250,000

The Ski Ranches water system has the oldest water infrastructure in the Mountain Village water system and is prone to ongoing, major leaks. The water from this system is critical to supporting possible future firefighting efforts should a fire occur south of Mountain Village Boulevard. The phased plan to replace the aging infrastructure commenced in summer 2018 and will continue over the course of many years.

Village Pond restoration – $115,000

As outlined by the Village Center Subarea Project, the Village Pond across from the Telluride Conference Center will be dredged and receive necessary maintenance to help revitalize this key natural asset in the Village Center.

Completion of wayfinding improvements – $100,000

The last phase of the two-year wayfinding project will conclude with gondola, parking, trail, and supplementary signage.


New staff hires

Based on the results of the Town IT audit and broadband studies, Town Council unanimously voted to hire a new, senior-level director to oversee the upcoming 1G broadband capacity expansion, adoption, installation of essential cybersecurity measures and determine next steps with our cable system. This was the only new position approved for hire in 2019.

Financial transparency

Lastly, we are very excited about the launch of a new interactive tool that allows you to view all town budget and financial data in an easy, user-defined portal. The new financial transparency portal, in partnership with OpenGov, offers in-depth financial reporting with two years of actuals, current, and proposed budgets that can also be viewed in interactive charts and graphs.

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

Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year,

Happy Holidays,

Laila Benitez
Mountain Village Mayor

The San Miguel County Holiday Tree Disposal

Holiday Tree Disposal

Words by Bill Kight / Community, Environment, Public Works

The San Miguel County holiday tree disposal site is moving this year to Ilium Valley—Vance Drive Industrial Area. Follow the marked signs.

Please remove all lights and decorations from your trees. This site is for tree disposal only, please no other dumping of debris.

Trees will be chipped on January 31. For more information, call (970) 728-3844.

Mountain Village seeks to amend Community Development Code to better align with Comprehensive Plan

Vilalge Center Single Family Rezone

Words by Kathrine Warren / Community, Development

On Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019 the Town of Mountain Village’s Design Review Board will consider a recommendation to Town Council regarding a Community Development Code (CDC) amendment, aimed at implementing the Mountain Village Comprehensive Plan.

The proposed amendment seeks to modify Section 17.3.4 of the CDC to allow for certain properties in the Village Center Subarea — which are currently zoned single family — to subdivide, transfer density or rezone to better align with goals outlined in the Comprehensive Plan.

Currently, the town’s CDC does not allow for further subdivision, density transfers or rezoning of any single-family lots, which creates inconsistencies with the town’s long-term planning visions and effectively eliminates the town’s ability to implement its goals in the Comprehensive Plan for the Village Center.

“This amendment really makes sense from a planning perspective,” said Mountain Village’s Senior Planner John Miller. “As planners, we are always trying to implement the community vision that has been created by the public, and at the same time we are constantly trying to create smart community design, especially buffers between incompatible uses.”

“By implementing the vision of the Comprehensive Plan, we can effectively create a transition zone of condominiums helping to maintain the overall character of the single-family neighborhoods that circumvent the Village Center,” Miller continued.

The Comprehensive Plan, which was adopted by Council in 2011 and amended by Council in 2014 and 2017, serves as the guiding visionary document for future growth and development throughout Mountain Village and particularly within designated subareas such as the Village Center.

It states, “Mountain Village Center is the heart of the town, and within it [development of multiple parcels] are recommended in order to improve the overall economic vibrancy and character [of the community]”.

To accomplish this envisioned economic vibrancy, the Plan provides for the development of certain parcels of land identified in the Subarea Plan as Parcels C-1, C-2 and C-3; also known as Lots 89-2A, 89-2B, 89-2C, 89-3A, 89-3B, 89-3C, 89-3D, and 104. These lots are located on Mountain Village Boulevard near the Village Pond, and although they currently maintain a single-family zoning designation, the Comprehensive Plan designates this area to be developed as a mixture of ridgeline and flagship condominiums.

“Subdividing, density transfers and rezoning outside of the Village Center will not be affected by the proposed amendment, and any future development within the area affected will need to have general conformance with the Comprehensive Plan,” Miller said.

The Design Review Board is expected to make a recommendation to Town Council, and the amendment could have a first hearing Jan. 17, 2019 and a final hearing Feb. 21, 2019.

For more information about the proposed CDC amendment, please visit our Current Planning page.

Date and Time of Public Hearing(s):

DRB Hearing Date & Time: January 3, 2018, 10:30 a.m. or as soon as practicable thereafter
Council Hearing Date & Time: January 17, 2018, time TBA (Schedule and agenda to be set in early January)
Final Council Hearing Date: February 21, 2018(Schedule and agenda to be set in early January)

Mountain Village celebrates Holiday Prelude Dec. 15-16


Words by Kathrine Warren / Community, Event

Mountain Village will once again be transformed into the North Pole for this year’s Holiday Prelude celebration on Saturday, Dec. 15 and Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018.

This year promises a whole day of holiday movies, train rides, Santa and his workshop, live reindeer, ice skating and children’s holiday surprises around every corner. Holiday Prelude is a collaborative effort between Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association, Town of Mountain Village, Telluride Ski & Golf Company and local merchants to transform Mountain Village into the regional destination for holiday fun and activities.

Throughout the weekend, children of all ages will delight in the decorations and lights galore as Santa’s elves send them up the Gondola to visit Santa’s Village at the Telluride Conference Center from 1-5 p.m.

Children can share their Christmas List with Santa, make holiday crafts with the elves, and enjoy holiday movies with free hot chocolate and popcorn. This year’s holiday films include “The Year Without Santa Clause,” “Polar Express” and “Elf.”

A parents’ lounge and cash bar will be available for parents who want to put their feet up. In addition, a curling demo will be held to demonstrate how the sport is played and help folks learn to curl from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. (Saturday only), ice skating will be available from noon to 4 p.m., and sledding (Saturday only) will be held from 4:30 – 6 p.m. And kids can meet a live reindeer in Sunset Plaza on Saturday fro 1-5 p.m. as well.

Children and adults can expect many surprises on the train ride throughout the twinkling Mountain Village. This year the train will be making some very special stops through town to visit the live reindeer petting area (Saturday only) and participating shops will be giving gifts and treats to all children.

To celebrate the grand re-opening of Telluride Sports at the Franz Klammer Lodge, please join us for après ski treats with our custom gourmet hot cocoa bar, coffee and cookies from Telluride Sports & Bogner USA on Saturday, December 15th from 3- 5 p.m. Learn more about the event.

As you head into Mountain Village, stop by Telluride Outfitters (in the Market Plaza by the free Gondola parking garage) for a photo with a yeti and some holiday cheer. Learn more about the event.

Be sure to check out Mountain Village’s newest art gallery, Rinkevich Gallery with its grand opening celebration on Saturday from 5-8 p.m.

On Saturday, the culmination of this year’s event will be a Tree Lighting Ceremony with Santa and carolers in Heritage Plaza at 6 p.m. Following the lighting, head back to the ice skating rink because the Telluride Figure Skating Club will be presenting “North Pole on Ice.” DJ Soul Atomic will DJ in Reflection Plaza afterwards!

Mountain Village is proud to feature local ice skaters who are excited to show off their skills on the ice. The show is set to begin at 6:15 p.m. After our local pros leave the ice, stick around for the “coolest” ice skating party ever – all set to your favorite tunes.

For those who need to get some last-minute Christmas shopping done, Mountain Village merchants are extending discounts and specials to customers until 9 p.m. Shoppers will receive some of the best discounts of the year, along with raffles, giveaways, food and drink specials and more.

And, in the true spirit of giving, Franz Klammer Lodge will host an Angel Baskets Charity Drive for donations and will be offering complimentary treats and beverages in their lodge on Saturday from 1-5 p.m.

Lodging and ski packages are available for those who want to extend the holiday fun. For more information, visit Activities are all free of charge; events and times are subject to change so please check back often!

View the full schedule here.

Gondola hours extended for winter weekends

Gondola at sunset

Words by Kathrine Warren / Community, Transportation

To support local businesses and promote safe late-night transportation, this winter the gondola will once again run on Fridays and Saturdays from 6:30 a.m. until 2 a.m. The new weekend hours will run beginning on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018 through April 7, 2019.

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 6:30 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. Dial-A-Ride will operate until 12:30 a.m. the remaining nights of the week. 

Photo credit: Ryan Bonneau.

December Mayor’s Minute

Mayors Minute

Words by Bill Kight / Government, Mayor's Minute

Hello neighbors,

Below are some Town Council meeting highlights from last month and some upcoming topics. As always, I hope you can join us for tomorrow’s meeting or consider sharing your feedback with us about any of these matters.

November 15 Meeting Highlights

  • Town Council voted to approve, on first reading, an ordinance to making minor housekeeping amendments to the Community Development Code. These are generally technical amendments identified by staff as needed to improve the zoning/development code administration.
  • The Telluride Distilling Company will open a tasting room on December 22 in Mountain Village Center with the recent approval of a State of Colorado off-site tasting room permit. Manufacturing operations will continue at their Lawson Hill location.
  • Town Council reviewed and approved, on first reading, the 2019 and revised 2018 budgets.
  • Uptown Services, LLC  presented their Broadband Feasibility Study results. In 2019, the town is undertaking a major upgrade to our Broadband network infrastructure, which will allow us to offer improved 1G fiber services to every home. After completing the Request for Proposals (RFP) process, design, and engineering in the first half of 2019, the town aims to begin construction next summer and complete the project by the end of year 2020.
  • Lastly, we received reports from Bill Jensen with Telluride Ski & Golf and the Town Hall and Village Center Subarea Committees.

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

December 13 Agenda Topics

  • Town Council will vote to approve the 2019 and revised 2018 budgets. A budget-specific email will be sent out later this month, which will review the coming year’s budget and the funding of upcoming projects.
  • In response to new state legislation that became effective September 1, 2018, the council will consider a proposed resolution to adopt a policy concerning the destruction, disposal, and protection of records containing personal identifying information. The new law requires government entities to not only adopt a policy regarding destruction and protection of these personal records but also includes requirements regarding protecting personal identifying information, reporting breaches of personal identifying information, and contracting with third parties that might handle personal identifying information.
  • 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 to allow the town to purchase this unit. If approved, we will also consider authorization for the town manager to negotiate the purchase of this condo on behalf of the town.
  • Telluride Ski and Golf (TSG) is requesting approval for an equestrian Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to provide horse-drawn sleigh rides. The third-party run operation will run seasonally from December to April. The application proposes four 45-minute tours daily.
  • We will consider adoption of a Village Court Apartments’ rental policy and potential rent increases. Rental rates last increased five years ago. A rental increase policy could allow the town to avoid significant future rental increases. In addition, a policy is necessary to aid in responding to occupancy fluctuations and to keep up with ongoing maintenance needs.
  • EcoAction Partners will present the results of the 2017 Town of Mountain Village Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report.
  • Colorado Flights Alliance, Marketing Telluride Inc., and the Town Hall and Village Center Subarea Committees will provide their reports.

A full agenda has been posted on our website; we welcome your input and hope to see you at the meeting.

Warm regards,

Laila Benitez
Mountain Village Mayor

Toys for Tickets

Toys for Tickets

Words by Kathrine Warren / Community, Parking

This holiday season, the Mountain Village Municipal Court wants you to erase your parking ticket debt for a good cause. Purchase a new, unwrapped child’s toy in exchange for your current or past due parking ticket(s).

The deadline to drop off a new toy is Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 5 p.m. You can drop off tickets at the Mountain Village Municipal Court Clerk at 411 Mountain Village Boulevard.

You must show proof of purchase – a receipt – for the toy that is equal to or greater than the amount owed on the ticket(s). They toys will be distributed to children over the holiday season by Angel Baskets.

For more details please call (970) 728-9381 or (970) 728-4287.

Mountain Village welcomes fourth annual Telluride Fire Festival


Words by Kathrine Warren / Community, Event

The fourth annual Telluride Fire Festival returns to Mountain Village on a new weekend this ski season! The three-day fire art event takes place December 7-9, 2018.

Each year in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, a city of more than 70,000 people rises out of the dust for one week. During that time, enormous fire art installations are erected and many are ritually burned to the ground — never to be seen again. This temporary city is known as Burning Man. The Telluride Fire Festival honors this influential phenomenon in contemporary American art and the many artists whose works of fire art can often only be witnessed at Burning Man. The Fire Festival showcases stunning works of art unique to this desert happening.

The Telluride Fire Festival ignites this December 6 during Telluride’s Artwalk with an exhibit and reception at Slate Gray Gallery, in downtown Telluride. Fire performances and fire art installations are slated in both Mountain Village and Telluride Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, and during the day, free flow arts workshops will be available for people of all ages at the Wilkinson Public Library.

Festival Hospitality will be at the base of Lift 4 in the Mountain Village Center each day of the festival 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

The signature events of this year’s festival are as follows:

  • Hot Time in the Old Town, Friday Dec. 7 & Sunday, Dec. 9, 5-8 p.m., Transfer Warehouse.  Be amazed. Experience, interact, and even operate fire sculptures and be entranced by fire dancers at the roofless historic Transfer Warehouse. Enjoy music by Beatrixx Kiddo & DJ Kentendo with MC by Telluride Theatre’s Colin Sullivan. Hot drinks at the cash bar at this one-of-a-kind event. Food and snacks for sale as well.
  • Fireside Soiree, Friday, Dec. 7, 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.), The Bob Theater (in the Palm Arts Complex.  an up-close and personal cabaret style performance of mind-bending stunts and comedy produced by Homestead Circus Productions…sans fire.
  • Fire Ball, Saturday, Dec. 8, 9 p.m., Great Room at San Sophia Gondola Station. This wildly outrageous event will feature music, fire performers, aerial silk spinners, jugglers, open bar and more. Plus, Fire Ball attendees will have access to the Fire Sculpture Garden atop the ski area.
  • Free Fire Dancing Performances in Reflection Plaza on Saturday, Dec. 8 from 5 to 8 p.m.

New This Year:

Arizona fire artists Chris Turner and Michael “Oaks” Wright are creating a unique piece entitled “Pinwheel Snowflake”, which will be lit from within. Skiers will marvel at its complexity of design during the day and then — in true Burning Man form — it will burn to the ground Saturday night during the Fire Ball.

Country and Chaos Collaborations, also out of Arizona, will be showcasing their beautiful Fire Flowers and the interactive Easty Beasty, which shoots flames high into the air. Country and Chaos Collaborations is the joint effort of Arizona Burners Nick Rice, Kristin Wesley, and Lance Greathouse.

Denver artists Mark Switzer, Craig Sanchez and Jed Winters are contributing their Camp Wardrobe MalFUNKtion fiery arch. Built as a sign for Camp Wardrobe MalFUNKtion at Colorado’s regional Burning Man event, Apogaea in 2016, the arch incorporates Apogaea’s logo, a simplified image of the sun crested on the horizon of the earth, illuminating an arch of the planet. Guests at the Transfer Warehouse will walk under the arch while flames shoot into the air above them on arrival.

Returning artists:

Returning artist Keith D’Angelo will have a new fire sculpture at the Fire Sculpture Garden along with an exhibit at Slate Gray Gallery: Out of Focus – A Visual Commentary On Gun Violence. Keith’s LOVE is set to burn along with three other wood sculptures at 9:30 p.m. December 8. Each letter is eight feet tall and five feet wide.


The Telluride Fire Festival, a 501(c)3 organization, is an interactive fire art experience offering fire related workshops and outdoor displays of fire artistry to support artists and enable all to immerse themselves in the many forms of fire art.

For more about the Festival or to volunteer for the festival, visit

Celebrate Thanksgiving in Mountain Village

Thanksgiving blog

Words by Kathrine Warren / Community

There is a lot to be thankful for this holiday season!

For starters, Telluride Ski Resort is opening on Thanksgiving Day for the first time since 2015! There’s snow in the forecast for this week and forecasters are slating this winter to be an El Nino year which always bodes well for Southwest Colorado!

Lift 4 and the Chondola (Lift 1) will open for the season on Thurs. Nov. 22 at 9 a.m. and the following trails will be open:

  • Village Bypass (from top of Lift 4 to Lower Boomerang)
  • Lower Boomerang (from Village Bypass to the base of Lift 4)
  • Upper & Lower Misty Maiden
  • South Meadows
  • The Meadows Learning Center
  • Peaks Trail

Be sure to download the ski area’s new app to stay up-to-date on conditions, terrain and more!

If you don’t make it on the mountain, you can still work up an appetite with San Miguel County’s annual Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk in Illium Valley. The race starts at the intersection of Sunshine Road and CR 63L (Illium Road). Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the race starts at 9:30 p.m. Costumes are encouraged and dogs on a leash are welcome.

After a long day of skiing, have Thanksgiving dinner at one of Mountain Village’s fabulous restaurants.

Altezza at the Peaks Resort will have a Thanksgiving Day Buffet from 1-9 p.m. Dinner is $60 for adults and $25 for children 12 and under. Call (970) 728-2525 for reservations.

The Madeline Hotel will be offering a Thanksgiving Menu from 4:30-10 p.m. Dinner is $75 for adults and $35 for children. This year residents can also take advantage of Chef Will’s Thanksgiving to Go Option including a full dinner for 6-16 people. Please call (970) 369-8949 for for information and reservations.

For a full list of Mountain Village restaurants, please check out our Dining & Nightlife Directory.

Please visit the Town of Mountain Village’s event page for a full schedule of events this weekend and beyond.



Mountain Munchkins hosts third annual Family Date Night

Munchkins Family Date Night

Words by Kathrine Warren / Community, Mountain Munchkins

On Friday, Nov. 30, take the family out to the Telluride Conference Center for Mountain Munchkin’s third annual Family Date Night.

All proceeds benefit the scholarship fund at Mountain Munchkins, Mountain Village’s child care center located at Village Court Apartments.

The fun evening will feature a bouncy castle, craft table, pictures with Santa, a ski pass raffle, silent auction and a screening of the film “Happy Feet.”

Admission is $10 (and $5 for kids 12 and under), and there will also be a raffle to win a season’s Telluride Ski Resort pass with raffle tickets available for $10. There will be a cash bar available for adults as well.

The fun will take place 5:30-8 p.m. on Friday. Nov. 30 and the movie will begin at 6 p.m.

Established in 1996, Mountain Munchkins is a licensed infant, toddler and preschool center located at Village Court Apartments in Mountain Village. As a year-round program, it primarily provides childcare service to families who work in the Mountain Village and Telluride region.

Mountain Munchkins is owned, operated and subsidized by the Town of Mountain Village, and supported by grant-funding organizations like the Telluride Foundation, Just For Kids Foundation, CCAASE, Bright Futures and Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation.

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