Seventeen leaders from regional government boards occupied every single seat around an enormous, D-shaped table in Mountain Village Town Hall Monday afternoon, as they gathered for an intergovernmental meeting regarding health initiatives, recycling, waste streams, venture-capitalist “boot camp” and economic sustainability in the West End.
Mountain Village, San Miguel County and the Town of Telluride take turns hosting the intergovernmental gatherings.
Named after 13,470-foot Palmyra Peak that looms above the village, Town Hall’s Palmyra Room makes an elegant space for intergovernmental addresses. Twenty-foot ceilings and rows of recessed lighting lent gravitas as Tri-County Health Network’s Lynn Borup described “Skippy,” the name of the school-based, oral health program serving children ages 0-18 throughout San Miguel, Ouray, Montrose and Delta counties.
Kris Holstrom, a San Miguel County Commissioner and former executive director of EcoAction Partners, then rose to discuss environmental matters, including her intention to seek an EPA grant for a waste characterization study.
Holstrom said it’d be ideal if the region could become responsible for all its waste stream, but that’s incredibly difficult for sparsely populated, spread-out communities such as San Miguel County.
As the assembled leaders nodded appreciatively while rocking gently in high-backed leather chairs, Jonathan Greenspan of Recycle Colorado spoke about the difficulties in recycling and composting in the Telluride region, saying, “All the major composting plants are in enormous cities with 2-3 million people surrounding them. It’s tough to scale that down to a population like the one we have here.”
Therefore, it burns more fossil fuel to transport compost to a composting center than to dispose of food waste and other compostable materials as garbage, Greenspan lamented.
Davis Fansler, vice chair of the board and chair of the grants committee for the Telluride Foundation, requested the ecology commission evaluate the region’s recycling needs and goals. “It’d be great if you came back to a meeting like this and made some recommendations,” Fansler said from the straight edge of the gleaming D-shaped table, which seated several other heroes fighting for the region’s citizenry, and evoked a serious Justice League vibe.
Paul Major, president and CEO of the Telluride Foundation, then spoke about the Telluride Venture Accelerator initiative and its major changes.
Said Major of the training programs that formerly lasted five months, “The long-term ones aren’t successful. So we’re transforming to venture capital ‘boot-camps.’ Each program is two weeks long, and will be conducted on-site in Telluride, with housing provided for companies that are participating.”
Major added the upcoming participants are all companies involved with alternatives to plastic, highlighting Lime Loop (a company that makes easy-to-use returnable packages) and Final Straw (which has won raves for its reusable stainless-steel straws).
The next intergovernmental work session will take place May 13. According to an email from Jackie Kennefick, Mountain Village town clerk, “The IG meetings (technically they are work sessions as no formal action is taken) are quarterly (February, May, August and November) and the schedule for the next year is decided at the November meeting but they are typically the second Monday of those months. The presiding officer of the host entity (mayor or Board of County Commissioners chair) runs the meeting and typically staff sends out a call for agenda items to each entity then sends a draft agenda to the entities based on the requested items for discussion. So for Monday’s meeting that is what I did. Organizations such as Tri-County, the Telluride Foundation, Telluride Tourism Board, etc. will request to come and present topics but other topics may be suggested by elected officials or staff as well.”