With the fall colors finally starting to turn, it’s the perfect time to reflect back on a record-breaking summer, and look forward to what will hopefully be another fun and busy winter. Reminder that the gondola remains open until Oct. 20 at midnight, after which we will switch to the off-season inter-town bus loop from Mountain Village to Telluride, with stops in Lawson Hill.

During its monthly meeting last week, Mountain Village Town Council continued discussing the potential 49-unit expansion of Village Court Apartments (VCA). We are exploring the cost estimates, timeline and feasibility for an option that could allow us to design the project as a for-sale affordable housing development. The town and council members have heard from many members of the community that we need to consider the need for affordable housing ownership opportunities.

Of the 1,203 occupied affordable housing units in San Miguel County, 539, or 44.8 percent, are in Mountain Village, however, only 120 units of those units, or 22 percent, are owner-occupied deed-restricted housing. The last for-sale affordable housing development developed by the town in Mountain Village was the Coyote Court development in 2005.

As we further explore available options as part of our due diligence, we will need to examine financing options, complete a market analysis, conduct a local survey of residents and business owners, and draft a developed project proforma. While all of us would prefer a project with a more expedited timeline, there is a fiduciary and community responsibility to consider all our current housing development options. Additionally, we are sensitive that our decisions today impact not only this project, but the available options and resources to fund our future community housing needs.

As part of our region’s ongoing effort to meet new and updating wastewater treatment regulations, Mountain Village is beginning a one-year pilot project to add a phosphate blend to our drinking water system in order to help reduce copper levels at the Telluride Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant. Mildly corrosive water and copper-containing infrastructure in both the Mountain Village and the Town of Telluride influent flows are thought to be substantial contributors to high copper levels at the plant. We will be reviewing this pilot program in six months to gauge the projects efficacy and any unintended impacts.

OTHER NEWS

On Oct. 9, we will convene a special Town Council meeting focused on the 2020 budget to allow council members and staff time to review the details of each department’s budget, receive the Grant Committee’s recommendations and discuss upcoming capital improvement projects. A first glance and deeper dive of the budget can be found at bit.ly/MVillage2020Budget. A few of our goals and key capital expenditures being considered include:

  • Maintain town infrastructure to a high standard of repair and condition, including trails and necessary improvements for safe pedestrian and bike travel in Mountain Village.
  • Continue planning for the financial impact of the wastewater treatment plant upgrade and expansion, including a potential increase of 10 percent to town water and sewer customer rates.
  • Complete the major upgrade of our broadband network infrastructure that will allow us to offer improved 1G fiber services to every home and business. Engineering, design and initial construction began this year; the project is estimated to be completed by the end of 2020.
  • Implement a cybersecurity plan based on the 2018 consulting study findings.
  • Continue to explore expansion of Village Court Apartments.
  • Increase available grant funds from $130,000 to $150,000 annually.

Last week, Town Council appointed Michael Doherty to the Mountain Village Business Development Advisory Committee, and Cath Jett and Michael Fallon to the Green Team Committee. On behalf of Town Council, thank you to everyone who volunteered and those who were appointed.

If you have questions or comments about any of these or other topics, please email me at lailabenitez@mtnvillage.org.