ERC II

The Economic & Business Recovery group, which the county has officially formed, aims to help officials as they consider new public health orders and allow certain segments of the local economy to begin reopening. (Courtesy image)

San Miguel County Manager Mike Bordogna announced Thursday that the county will officially form the Economic & Business Recovery group outlined in the county’s most recent Disaster Recovery Plan, with efforts to slowly reopen businesses now underway, according to a news release. An early Economic Recovery Committee (ERC) was created to help coordinate local economic recovery efforts, with that group now being transitioned into the county program, to complement other recovery programs that are underway.

With representatives from governments, nonprofits and private businesses, the ERC is comprised of more than 30 representatives. Bordogna said the committee will welcome new members as it focuses on different segments of the local economy.

“We want to make sure that all voices are at the table and make sure they’re heard equitably,” he told the Daily Planet Friday. “… I’m super jazzed about this. It’s a fortunate thing that’s happened during an unfortunate time. This is a new avenue for us to have an ongoing connection to our industries and local economy so that we can be more responsive to their needs, and they can feel like they can provide input when they see inequities or issues coming.”

 The group’s initial focus was on gathering information and providing feedback as the county started to reopen businesses after the state loosened stay-at-home orders. 

The next phase under the county will be chaired by Telski CEO Bill Jensen. As the county’s leading employer and economic driver, Jensen will play an integral role in leading the group as they move forward into future stages of the recovery efforts.

“I have enjoyed being a part of this innovative and thoughtful group of community business leaders, and look forward to collaborating further with the county and taking the committee’s efforts to the next level,” Jensen said in a news release. 

Bordogna said the committee will discuss which business sectors to focus on first during its next meeting Friday. The public can listen to the meetings, which are every Friday, by calling in. For more information, visit sanmiguelcountyco.gov

“As the county is looking to potentially loosen their regulations where they’re stricter than the state, these groups are going to help by focusing on one or two industries at a time,” Bordogna said. 

He added that the goal is to come up with “industry consistent” protocols. 

“We’re trying to refine, learn and improve so that we continue to have the safest outcomes while enabling the most business to occur,” he said. 

Officials plan to lean on the committee’s guidance for the foreseeable future, Bordogna explained, whether it’s discussing large gatherings like summer weddings or how office-based businesses allow employees return to work safely. Several members were added recently, and they won’t be the last to join the advisory group. 

“We were able to successfully gather a cross-section of our community’s economic sectors and help establish a safe path to reopening,” said Dan Jansen, Telluride Tourism Board chair. “Following a productive first phase, it is the appropriate time to transition the group to county oversight for the coming stages of our near-term and long-term economic recovery.”

The other current committee members are Mountain Village Town Council member Dan Caton; Mountain Village Town Manager Kim Montgomery; Telluride council member Todd Brown; Telluride Town Manager Ross Herzog; Anton Benitez of Telluride Mountain Owners Association; Bonnie Watson of the Telluride Foundation; Richard Betts of the Telluride Regional Medical Center Board of Directors; Ray Farnsworth, representing restaurateurs; Pete DeLuca, representing construction; John Duncan, representing activities and outfitters; Wendy Basham, representing retail; San Miguel County Commissioner Kris Holstrom; Norwood Mayor Kieffer Parrino; Matt Skinner of the Colorado Flights Alliance; Carrie Andrew of the Norwood Chamber of Commerce; Kate Jones of Telluride Arts District; Ginger Medrick, representing personal service; San Miguel County Public Health Director Grace Franklin; Sean Stogner, representing retail; Wendy Jacobs Hampton, representing weddings; and Montrose Mayor Barbara Bynum.