June Mayor’s Minute

Mayor's Minute

Words by Dan Jansen / Mayor's Minute

Dear neighbors,

I hope you are enjoying the arrival of summer; it’s great to see many of our second homeowners coming home to Mountain Village.

Our town remains very busy. Last month we received an update from the Telluride Tourism Board and Colorado Flights Alliance showing great results in terms of our destination and air service (e.g. Mountain Village had the highest three-year growth rate in sales tax revenue of any town in the Colorado Association of Ski Towns). In addition, we launched the wayfinding project that will help all of us, including our visitors and guests, navigate our town more easily. There will be extensive public engagement for this project, so please think about participating in wayfinding stakeholder meetings.

Last month, we also received and approved a request to partially fund the Ideas Festival, which will focus on creating new and more regional workforce housing solutions. In that same vein, we considered a term sheet from the developers of Lot 640A, formerly Telluride Apartments and located in the Meadows, where the town would own a park that would sit next to the privately-funded and owned potential workforce housing project. Council was supportive of creating the park and incentivizing the creation of more workforce housing in a public-private-partnership. Continuing, we finalized an agreement with TMVOA and Telluride Ski & Golf Company to share costs on the maintenance and upkeep of the Gondola Plaza in Mountain Village Center. We also evaluated the potential to add back-up power generation to Town Hall and town shops so that in the event of a future power outage, we will have emergency locations for the town with power, food (i.e. keep The Market at Mountain Village running), and fuels (available from the town shops). Responding to some resident concerns, we also discussed potential changes in the town’s Community Development Code to further limit single-family lot subdivisions. Further limitations on the ability to sub-divide single-family lots were discussed, and we received public comment. In turn, we directed staff to present a proposal for us to consider at the worksession this Thursday.

This month the activity keeps coming. We will have a public discussion about creating the San Miguel Authority for Regional Transit (SMART) and look for public input on the Intergovernmental Agreement we have drafted with the Town of Telluride and San Miguel County that would allow for the formation of SMART. There will be a brief informational update on the Town Hall Center Subarea planning process. Continuing our discussion from the last meeting, there will be a public hearing on some potential changes to the Community Development Code addressing concerns raised by some residents on the ability to subdivide single-family lots. Finally, in addition to our usual routine land use matters and staff updates, we will consider a term sheet offered by the developers of Lot 640A (formerly Telluride Apartments) that could entail a town park and workforce housing for up to 45 units.

As always, we hope you will be able to join us for our meeting this Thursday and/or provide comments to us in advance.

Warm Regards,
Dan Jansen
Mountain Village Mayor

P.S. Telluride Ski & Golf Company will be sealing the Gondola Plaza deck beginning this week. Please pardon the dust, noise and inconvenience. We understand the timing is not ideal, but due to late snowfall and rain the project had to be delayed until a prolonged period of warm, dry weather was in the forecast.

Two musical acts take center stage for the free FirstGrass Concert; gondola hours extended

firstgrass concert

Words by Nichole Zangara / Event

Acoustic duo Mandolin Orange and International Bluegrass Music Association’s 2014 Entertainers of the Year, Balsam Range, will grace the stage in Mountain Village’s Sunset Plaza for the Seventh Annual FirstGrass Concert June 15. As part of the 43rd Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival, this free show runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and is made possible by the Town of Mountain Village and Planet Bluegrass.

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 20 will be towed at the owner’s expense. In addition, Dial-A-Ride will remain open until 2 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.

Panel discussion explores women in business and investment

Business at Elevation

Words by Nichole Zangara / Business Development

Four women, all business experts in their industry verticals, will speak June 15 at the Madeline Hotel Ballroom beginning at 12:30 p.m. This is the second and final event in the Business at Elevation summer series that connects business leaders with current and aspiring business owners and entrepreneurs.

Keynoting the event is Elizabeth Kraus, co-founder and chief investment officer of MergeLane, a startup accelerator and fund that targets companies with at least one woman in leadership. Kraus is also very active in the national and statewide effort to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem and mobilize angel investors. She will be joined by three other business women – Kristin Holbrooke, Jen Taylor, and Patty Denny – to address the topic of women in business and investment more broadly.

“Studies show that startups with at least one woman in leadership outperform those without, yet only 18 percent of startups have at least one female founder,” explained Kraus. “Investing in women is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.”

Panel Speakers

Kristin Holbrooke | Retail: Founder of Two Skirts, Kristin has successfully maintained a retail presence in Telluride for over 15 years. Her clothes selection mirrors the tastes of Telluride – avoiding trendy labels and instead appealing to lifestyles from work to play, yoga to sophisticate. Not only is her choice of merchandise cornerstone to her success, but customer service the key to longevity. Come hear her thoughts on how to create a sustainable retail enterprise.

Jen Taylor | Outdoor Industry: Jen is founder of Mountain Sprouts, an outdoor apparel company featuring outerwear for active kids. In 2007, the company sold to Mountain Khakis, and since that time Jen has been part of the team as the brand manager and director of creative development. An avid lover of the outdoors and super passionate about the industry, Jen has been instrumental in supporting emerging companies in the outdoor space as a founder of the Manufacturers of Outdoor Gear Sale, now the GEAR UP Festival, on the Western Slope with Chacos. GEAR UP provides the opportunity to sell direct and move inventory.

Patty Denny | Manufacturing: Former Broadway actress turned chocolatier, Patty has created one of Telluride’s favored (and flavored) brands from their famous hot chocolate to the fourteener series. Patty’s creativity has elevated Telluride Truffle to a category of must-stops in Telluride. And she has created a worldwide presence shipping her products to several countries and throughout the U.S. Commercial space in Lawson Hill serves as the locale for her manufacturing facility. She also sells products through their e-commerce site and retail shop.

“Having this diverse panel of women who are experts in various industries, from investment to retail and manufacturing, are sure to inspire and help create a network of regional business women,” said Nichole Zangara Riley, director of marketing and business development for Mountain Village.

For more details and to register, visit Business at Elevation: Women in Business and Investment. Heavy appetizers and beverages will be provided. Business at Elevation is a partnership between Mountain Village and Telluride Venture Accelerator.

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.

Market on the Plaza is a summer mainstay in Mountain Village

Market On The Plaza

Words by Nichole Zangara / Event

Cue the overture to the “Sound of Music.” In the Telluride region, the hills are alive with the sound of chirping birds, babbling mountain streams, and the constant chatter of festivarians gathering weekly to enjoy the rich cultural bounty – and also the bounty offered up weekly in the Town of Mountain Village. Beginning June 15, the pedestrian-friendly Heritage Plaza once again comes alive with white tents and Colorado-proud vendors as the Market on the Plaza returns.

“We are happy to announce that not only are many of last year’s vendors returning, but also a number of new vendors, all conspiring to create an open air market offering a wide variety of products in an inspiring, fun atmosphere,” said Nichole Zangara Riley, director of marketing and business development for Mountain Village.

In its sixth year, the Market runs every Wednesday through August 17 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Patrons can, of course, expect the basics: farm produce, including eggs, fruits and vegetables, goat milk and cheeses, jams and marmalades, and garden herbs and oils.

“Farmers come a long way to provide fresh, home-grown food to the community at our markets, and they rarely sell out. We invite all locals to come shop on Wednesdays so that our growers go home empty-handed,” explained Deanna Drew, director of environmental services and market coordinator for the town.

Heritage Plaza will also be dotted with less conventional purveyors selling leathers, jewelry, quilts, textiles, handmade soaps, balms and lotions, hand-carved wood items, healing products, custom pet supplies, and kitchen goods, among other items.

In addition, the Wilkinson Public Library plans to bring more entertainment and programming to Mountain Village Center; and Telluride EcoAdventures team will host a booth featuring free crafts and games for children.

“The library’s programming, beginning June 29, helps round out the market and gives patrons a fun dose of the unconventional,” explained Zangara Riley. “The market’s day-time entertainment includes youth activities like face-painting, a balloon artist, and summer games. In addition to the entertainment, the library will sell a wide variety of used books.”

To become a Market vendor, contact Drew. For Market highlights, visit facebook.com/townofmountainvillage. Market patrons can also share their #marketfavorites with Mountain Village.

Telluride and Mountain Village celebrate upcoming Gondola 20th Anniversary

Gondola Chondola Summer

Words by Nichole Zangara / Event

The most unique public transportation system of its kind in North America will be going Platinum this year. The beloved Telluride-Mountain Village Gondola system will celebrate its 20th Anniversary on December 20, 2016. In true Telluride fashion, the destination will start the party early and kick-off the Gondola’s Platinum Anniversary this summer with a branded gondola cabin, contests and promotions that will engage guests and locals alike. A series of events and a festive gala will take place during the Anniversary month in December 2016.

“How amazing is it that a transit system is the number one rated attraction in our region on TripAdvisor,” said Mountain Village Mayor Dan Jansen. “The Gondola is an essential part of our communities, connecting the towns in a stunning way.”

Owned and operated by the Town of Mountain Village, the Gondola opened on December 20, 1996, one year after the Town of Mountain Village was incorporated, to provide free transportation between Mountain Village and Telluride while reducing the area’s carbon footprint. The electricity used to operate the gondola comes from on-site solar energy and wind power purchased from San Miguel Power Association; LED lighting throughout the terminals ensures it is used efficiently. With roughly 2.5 million passenger rides each year, the Gondola offers an effective mode of transportation that reduces carbon emissions resulting in cleaner air for the region. It also adds to the guest experience, giving visitors ease of access to both towns without needing a vehicle, making the destination one of the most pedestrian-friendly mountain resorts in the country.

Green transportation is not the only perk the Gondola provides. It also gives riders access to hiking and biking trails in the summer and ski terrain in the winter. Guests have a front-row seat to view the striking scenery from 10,500 feet on the Gondola. The ride from Mountain Village to Station St. Sophia has an elevation gain of 960 feet, which then takes an exhilarating 1,750 foot vertical foot plunge down in to the Town of Telluride. The entire two-mile journey takes about 13 minutes. The Gondola runs daily from 7 a.m. to midnight during summer and winter.

Since 1996, the Gondola has remained a free mode of transportation. The Town of Mountain Village owns and operates the Gondola, and the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association funds operations, maintenance and capital improvements.

“The Gondola has played a vital role in our community over the years,” said President and CEO of the Telluride Tourism Board Michael Martelon. “It has become an icon for the destination, and we look forward to honoring its importance and celebrating 20 years of operation in the coming year.”

Look out for the celebratory Gondola cabin, and stay tuned for further details on 20th Anniversary contests, promotions and events.

Incentive programs make it easier for community to save in more ways than one

Incentive Programs

Words by Nichole Zangara / Environment

The Town of Mountain Village is investing over $170,000 in community incentive programs focused on the environment. The reason for doing so is simple and two-fold: Mountain Village wants to give its community members the power to make a difference and it’s much easier to make a larger impact together than alone.

“We prefer to reward folks for doing the right thing rather than regulating them into compliance,” said Environmental Services Director Deanna Drew. “Our incentive programs are a fun way to educate the community about our environment, and then engage them with meaningful actions to protect our outdoors and conserve our natural resources.”

All told, five of the six programs will launch on or around Memorial Day Weekend and are part of the town’s larger ethos of protecting the environment outside of its 3.27 square mile radius.

“What we do here extends way beyond Mountain Village Boulevard,” said Nichole Zangara Riley, director of marketing and business development. “We know these programs are teaching our community that small changes can have a large impact, which is why we’ve continued with three tried-and-true incentive programs and added three new ones for 2016. With all of this, we’ve also been able to partner with key organizations that are also changing the environmental landscape for the better and want to connect with our community to make it more sustainable. This is about going at this together in order to move the needle in the right direction.”

The following is a list of 2016 Mountain Village incentive programs and their associated launch dates. With the exception of Relight Mountain Village, all programs are open until funds are exhausted.

Heat Trace Incentive Program
Launch May 27, 2016 | $12,000 Funding
Mountain Village wants its residents to take control of their roof and gutter heat trace system. So the town is funding this new incentive program aimed at improving the safety and efficiency of heat trace systems commonly applied on roofs and gutters by offering a free system controller valued at $380. To take advantage of this free offering, Mountain Village residents will need to follow a few steps, which are totally worth it: using an estimated 25 amps and 230 volts supplying a heat trace system on a home without controls from November to March may cost a resident approximately $2,277 per zone. With the use of controls and a properly installed system, a resident may save 30- to 50-percent of their electricity costs per winter.

Solar Energy Incentive Program
Launch May 27, 2016 | $12,500 Funding
The Solar Energy Incentive Program is another creative way that Mountain Village encourages the responsible use of natural resources throughout the community. With that, the town is offering significant savings to those who install solar on their home or business. First launched in 2014, the Solar Energy Incentive Program offers a rebate of $0.40 per watt of installed power generated by the sun. This is in addition to San Miguel Power Association’s current rebate of $0.75 per watt and the current federal tax credit of 30 percent.

Noxious Weed Control Incentive Program
Launch May 27, 2016 | $7,500 Funding
Controlling noxious weeds in a high alpine environment takes the entire community’s support and due diligence. In 2015, the town distributed $10,000 in noxious weed control rebates to over 50 properties. For 2016, Mountain Village was awarded another $7,500 grant from Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Noxious Weed Management Fund to incentivize Mountain Village property owners to manage noxious weeds on their properties. Property owners who professionally treat noxious weeds on their property are reimbursed 25 percent of their total bill, up to a maximum rebate amount of $250 per property.

Relight Mountain Village Incentive Program
Launch June 1, 2016 | $20,000 Funding
For the third year, Mountain Village is offering its residents and business owners an opportunity to save money and energy by switching from inefficient light bulbs to new light-emitting diode technology (LEDs). In partnership with San Miguel Power Association (SMPA) and Cooperative Business Lighting Partners, the Relight Mountain Village Incentive Program provides instant rebates and exclusive offers to those who purchase up to 50 LEDs at greenlivingtown.com. The 2016 online order period begins June 1 and will run until midnight July 31. Program participants can expect to save up to 75 percent for each LED bulb they purchase. In an effort to reduce waste, bulbs are delivered in bulk and available for pickup at Town Hall Plaza. Customers will be contacted via email regarding the specific date and time for this pickup event. Commercial businesses may participate in this program by first contacting SMPA’s Key Accounts Executive Paul Hora at phora@smpa.coop.

Wildfire Mitigation Incentive Program
Launch June 3, 2016 | $100,000 Funding
Mountain Village wants to help its residents create defensible space on their property in order to lower their wildfire risk. So the town, in partnership with the Telluride Fire Protection District, created the Wildfire Mitigation Incentive Program with Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association and the West Region Wildfire Council as funding partners. Through this program, every homeowner received a postcard and a unique personalized website that informed them of their property’s wildfire risk rating using a variety of site data.

To learn more, Mountain Village will host the Wildfire Mitigation Forum June 3 beginning at 10 a.m. in Mountain Village Town Hall. At this forum, residents can learn about the risk of wildfire from experts and then sign up for a home site visit with the town’s forester and a wildfire mitigation specialist in order to learn how one can reduce their individual wildfire rating risk by creating defensible space. Mountain Village will reimburse a property owner 50 percent of their total defensible space project cost up to $5,000 per property. This program is for existing Mountain Village homes, not new home construction.

Smart Water Controls Incentive Program
Launch August 2016 | $20,000 Funding
Mountain Village’s newest program for 2016 intends to educate the community about ways to prevent water loss, both inside and outside the home, and will encourage property owners to install devices on their water systems to eliminate water waste and conserve. The Smart Water Controls Incentive Program will reimburse the homeowner’s full cost of an Environmental Protection Agency-approved WaterSense irrigation controller installed on lawn irrigation systems. These smart controllers use real-time local weather data, including humidity, wind speed, solar radiation and rainfall, to calculate evapotranspiration rates and automatically adjust irrigation watering accordingly. All residential properties in Mountain Village, West Meadows and Ski Ranches are eligible for this program, and the town will reimburse the homeowner for all controllers needed to serve the entire property.

For more information about each incentive program, visit townofmountainvillage.com/green-living/incentive-programs.

 

Business panels highlight ways to start & grow a business

Business at Elevation

Words by Nichole Zangara / Business Development

There is a lot that goes into starting, developing, and growing a business in rural San Miguel County. Just ask the 1,000-plus business license holders in the Telluride Region. So in an effort to connect current and future business owners and entrepreneurs with local resources, organizations and programs, Mountain Village and Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA) are hosting two Business at Elevation events May 31 and June 15.

“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. “I encourage anyone who wants to gain access to business people and programs, and grow their network, to attend one or both of the Business at Elevation events.”

The first event, Business at Elevation: Funding for Business Start and Growth, will include a panel discussion among investors, lenders, lawyers and business development professionals who can advise and inform attendees on how to fund a business idea or grow an existing company.

“Funding is the fuel that powers business. But not all funding is alike and frequently business owners mis-finance assets causing problems in repayment or unnecessary loss of ownership,” explained TVA Director and Panel Moderator Thea Chase. “This panel is a very diverse group which can enlighten you to the pros and cons of various funding instruments, allowing you to make the best decision for your company.”

Feature panelists include Elliot Steinberg, managing partner of Telluride Venture Fund; Len Metheny, coordinator of Telluride Angels; Mike Volk, VP- commercial relationship manager with U.S. Bank; Jack Donenfeld, securities attorney on regulation crowdfunding; and representatives from the Region 10 Public Loan Fund.

The second event, Business at Elevation: Women in Business and Investment, also will include a panel discussion with Elizabeth Kraus as the keynote speaker. Kraus is co-founder and chief investment officer of MergeLane, a startup accelerator and fund targeting companies with at least one woman in leadership. Kraus is also very active in the national and statewide effort to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem and mobilize angel investors. She will be joined by other businesswomen to address this topic more broadly with a question and answer format.

“Studies show that startups with at least one woman in leadership outperform those without, yet only 18 percent of startups have at least one female founder,” explained Kraus. “Investing in women is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.”

Both events will be held in Madeline Hotel Ballroom. For more details and to register, visit Business at Elevation: Funding for Business Start and Growth and Business at Elevation: Women in Business and Investment.

May Mayor’s Minute

Mayor's Minute

Words by Dan Jansen / Mayor's Minute

Dear neighbors,

I suspect those of you in town are like me: done with all of this snow! Summer is almost here.

That said, your local government continues to work hard on your behalf. Last month, we approved, on first reading with a second reading scheduled for May 19, a franchise agreement with Crown & Castle to install a DAS solution (dispersed antenna system) in Mountain Village to improve the function of our cell network (target go-live date of Fall 2017). We had a deep dive into our energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions with three reports by our environmental services director and from EcoAction Partners. In what sounds like bad news, the reports show that we have increased our generation of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) this last year, moving us away from an already achieved town goal of reducing GHG 20 percent from 2010 levels at government-owned facilities. That said, this is somewhat misleading as the increase was driven by a higher “emissions factor” used to estimate the GHG driven by Tri-State’s energy mix as passed through San Miguel Power Association (SMPA). In short, dirtier electricity was generated this year versus prior years as Colorado still relies more heavily on coal than many other states. Regardless of where you sit on these issues, we have no ability to impact the source energy mix. That said, Tri-State is projecting an improvement next year given more use of natural gas in their system. Apologies for all of that detail, but I want everyone to understand the realities beneath the headlines. The good news is that actual energy usage and costs are down over seven percent versus our baseline year of 2010. SMPA also detailed an income-qualified program to help homeowners reduce energy consumption through more solar and better weatherization. Town Council is discussing whether to create a similar program where we incent all property owners, regardless of income level, to make their homes more energy efficient. Please share your thoughts on this.

In response to resident concerns, we also passed a temporary moratorium prohibiting new applications for the subdividing of single-family lots so that we can review the existing rules and share more information. Future meetings will discuss data gathered from other resort towns, and we can decide whether we want to change our approach (which has always allowed for these subdivisions, though very few have ever been approved). We also had a goal setting discussion for the 2017 budget process, which is actually starting now.

This week we have another packed agenda. The three governments met again to progress the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), which included a review of the polling conducted across the community to see where our residents are on the idea of forming an RTA. We also had an intergovernmental meeting on the topics of climate change and local community strategies. Both meetings illustrate the deepening engagement and coordination between the towns and the county on issues facing our region.

Mountain Village Town Council will consider many important issues later this week, in addition to our usual array of routine land use matters, staff and Town Council reports. We will kick off our wayfinding efforts with the intent to make navigating our town easier. The town has received a term sheet from the owners of Lot 640A where the town is considering buying a portion of the property to build a park in the Meadows neighborhood. We will also get a staff report on the topic of single-family lot subdivisions focusing on how similar towns handle these matters. Other reports include an update on the Gay Ski Week event and how it performed during this transition year to local, private oversight. Perhaps in a related discussion, we will review the role that the town could or may play in developing and/or managing special events.

As always, we hope you can attend or watch the meeting online. If not, please share your thoughts in whatever way you are most comfortable.

Warm Regards,
Dan Jansen
Mountain Village Mayor

Survey finds voters support SMART transit; governments one step closer to an election

Regional Transportation

Words by Nichole Zangara / Election

The Town of Mountain Village, Town of Telluride and San Miguel County today released the results of a live-interviewer transportation survey finding that most surveyed are in favor of forming and funding a regional transportation authority.

On behalf of the government entities, the county-wide survey by Keating Research was conducted by telephone from April 25 to May 1 among a cross section of 200 registered voters in the R-1 School District who are likely to vote in the November election.

“The intent of the phone poll was to provide us with enough information as to the level of support for SMART transit,” said Mountain Village Town Manager Kim Montgomery. “These results certainly point to the idea that the electorate overwhelmingly supports this concept and its possible funding mechanisms.”

The survey found the following:

  • San Miguel County voters are optimistic: 73 percent say San Miguel County is heading in the right direction compared to only 13 percent that say wrong direction.
  • 80 percent of voters say they support the formation of the San Miguel Regional Transportation Authority, also known as SMART transit, with 11 percent opposed. In addition, SMART transit received a strong majority support across all key voter groups in San Miguel County: women and men, younger voters and older voters, registered Democrats, Independents and Republicans.
  • Deemed the most important part of SMART transit is new bus or shuttle service to workforce or affordable housing, while parking infrastructure, trail maintenance and linkage, and expanded regional transportation are also important.
  • Voters show similarly strong support for funding SMART transit with 73 percent supporting a one-quarter of one percent increase in the San Miguel County sales tax rate, which is a sales tax increase of $0.25 on a $100 purchase; 72 percent support a one mill increase in the San Miguel County property tax rate, which is a property tax increase of $8 per $100,000 in assessed value for a residential home.
  • Investing in the gondola is vital, with 81 percent supporting the idea of saving a portion of the SMART transit fund to pay for capital improvements and operations and maintenance of the gondola after 2027, while 15 percent oppose this idea. In addition, 85 percent agree that all three government entities should reach a decision soon on how to pay for the gondola so the gondola will continue to operate after 2027, while 12 percent oppose this idea.

Lockstep with the November election, Mountain Village, Telluride and San Miguel County officials are close to signing an intergovernmental agreement that would move them one step closer to taking SMART transit to the voters. According to all parties involved, they expect an agreement will be reached by the end of May. Once this occurs, each entity will need to hold two mandatory public meetings in order to formally adopt this agreement.

“This intergovernmental agreement is the product of several years of cooperative work between Telluride, Mountain Village and San Miguel County,” said County Commissioner Joan May. “It’s taken this long to come up with an agreement that we can all get solidly behind, that provides enough certainty for the Regional Transportation Authority framework, while giving enough flexibility to adapt to changing future variables.”

Objectives for forming the SMART transit vary and include enhanced local transportation services, the creation of regional transportation systems, and improved state and federal grant opportunities, to name a few.

The survey’s margin for error is +/- 6.9 percentage points for 200 adults at the 95 percent confidence level. For more information about the survey results and the formation of SMART transit, visit townofmountainvillage.com/governing/regional-transportation.

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