The local economy

With all of the recent stock market volatility and all of the talk surrounding when, not if, the next recession is coming, I am pleased to report that the Town of Telluride remains in strong financial condition.

With respect to sales tax revenue, collections year-to-date through November 2018 were 4 percent ahead of where we stood at the same point one year earlier. Final December 2018 revenue data will not be available for few more weeks, but we seem poised to finish 2018 at or near our projected sales tax gross revenue amount of just under $7 million.

With respect to real estate transfer tax revenue, we finished 2018 22 percent above our projected gross revenue amount, collecting just under $6 million in 2018.

Local snow conditions

Given the time of year, it is important to recognize that both aggregate snowfall to date and the resort’s advanced snowmaking technology put us in a better position than where we stood one year ago. Last ski season was a lean time for many local businesses and many in our local workforce. We are thankful for the improved snow conditions this year, not only for the positive economic impact, but also for the reduced pressure it places on the San Miguel River.

Local housing projects

On the local town-constructed rental housing front, we take great pride in the fact that we completed the Virginia Placer project this past April and May. The 18 apartments, 3 tiny homes and the 46-person boarding house are currently 100 percent occupied with almost 100 people on the combined waiting list.

On the local town-constructed for sale housing front, staircases and an elevator shaft are currently rising out of the ground on the SMPA Lot above the recently-decked and recently toured 70-space underground parking structure, which is no longer blocking traffic and Pacific and Fir Streets. We are on schedule to deliver 10 more deed-restricted units at this prime downtown location in the fall of 2019.

There are now four new foundations on the northern portion of Lot B and we are on schedule to deliver 16 more deed-restricted units bordering the magnificent Valley Floor in the fall of 2019.

On the affordable housing funding front, as of February 2018, affordable housing mitigation fees on new residential construction were increased, and, as of November 2018, town voters approved a 2-mill property tax dedicated to affordable housing. The combined effect of these additional revenue streams will likely increase average annual Affordable Housing Fund revenues from $1 million to well over $1.5 million.

Looking ahead

Much has been accomplished during the past year. An extraordinary amount of staff time and staff resources have been committed to achieving these success stories. Expect more of the same in 2019 from this Town Council and from our highly-capable staff members.