It has been a very eventful first six months of the year. As required by the Charter, the mayor is to present a State of the Town report the first meetings of January and July each year. The first portion of the report will be, for lack of a better term “The Executive Summary.”
From a revenue perspective, sales tax was about on budget through a light snow year. La Nina was still affecting our snow conditions, but in spite of it all, the ski area posted a 1% gain in skier days while lodging and restaurants were ahead of previous years. Real Estate Transfer Tax was soft through the first few months and then began to pick up. Sales Tax through May is almost exactly on par with our year-to-date budgeted figure, within 0.1%. RETT through June was about six percentage points under what was budgeted, but overall we continue to see RETT revenues very akin to the 2011 fiscal year. Building applications are beginning to come back slightly as well.
The summer season has the potential of being our healthiest revenue season ever. It may even surpass the winter season which would be a statement of your government’s focus on reaching out to local merchants, festival promoters and to securing the final part of the first stage of the US ProCycling event. Our Festivals and Special Events are healthy and providing us with a foundation upon which we can build more sustainability into our future.
Main Street received a face lift though an approximately $325,000 resurfacing of our downtown commercial core. This allowed us to prepare, in a period of slightly more than a week, arguably our biggest eye sore, potholes and cracks from Willow to the roundabout. We are applying for a Department of Local Affairs grant to finish the undergrounding of the water pipes from Aspen to Townsend. If successful this could be completed as early as spring of 2013. The Pandora Water Treatment Plant is progressing and could be operational by the spring of 2014. The water shortages and outages we experienced this summer could end once this plant is in operation.
The Town Park received new grandstands which had a cost of $160,000 with a GOCO grant of $50,000 that greatly helped us complete this much needed park amenity. The solar array at the Wastewater Treatment Plant offsets about 9% of the annual power usage at the plant. Carhenge is currently in the process of being resurfaced. The Primrose Hillside which is a public/private partnership is moving along to the satisfaction of all parties including the town government, Windhorse and the majority of the affected neighbors.
Town government’s energy usage dropped from previous years and steps are being put in place where we are hoping to see more dramatic offsets to our green house gas emissions. Stay tuned on this one.
We are live streaming our council meetings on Telluride TV while continuing to broadcast most council meetings on KOTO. The Main Street Enhancement Task Force is meeting regularly and projects are being phased in to help bring more vitality to our commercial core. The Merchant’s Association has many council members and staff in attendance at their monthly meetings to better educate and implement projects that can assist our businesses in being more sustainable. We have assisted KOTO in organizing “The Ride” a rock music event for the weekend following the US ProCycling Challenge.
Although no new attainable housing has been built since Gold Run, we will continue to plan for future projects. Gold Run continues to earn awards, this time from another housing organization. The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials provided Gold Run with the Innovative Housing award. Our east end is vibrant and this year they had their second annual East End all day and most of the night party. The folks living there and in Entrada and Mendota are living a life they could never have dreamed they would attain, within the town limits of Telluride.
Awards that Telluride received in the first half of 2012 are: Arts-Prospective Colorado Creative District, Housing-NAHRO Mountain Plains (see above), Administration-Town Manager Greg Clifton-Colorado City and County Manager Association Manager of the Year, Mayor-Re-elected as Colorado Association of Ski Town President and recognition of service award to the Mayor from the Colorado Municipal League. Local eighth grader, Ting Taylor, won a financial scholarship for her essay “If I were the Mayor” which came from the CML.
The following are by Department, specific areas of accomplishments:
Town Attorney- Pinon Ridge-License revoked by Denver District Court, Montrose County Water Cases-Summary Judgment dismissing one case, Air Force Low Altitude Tactical Navigation Training-Air Force rethinking decision.
Town Manager- Main Street Enhancement Task Force-Idarado negotiations for Pandora Water Treatment Plant-Repaved downtown from Davis to Willow-US ProCycling Challenge; Carhenge resurfacing project; Budget oversight and preparation for mid-year budget supplemental; monitoring water restrictions.
Parks and Recreation-The new Director Stephanie Jaquet, replaced Rick Herrington-27 year veteran of the Department. Grandstands replaced-with a $50,000 grant from GOCO. Pavilion and Spruce Park public process related to upgrades with both venues. Successful Bluegrass Festival with the largest crowd to date. They are actively involved in US ProCycling Challenge and numerous other special events and festivals.
Planning and Building- Transactional business within the Department is picking up. Efforts are underway to update the Historic Survey and this item will be in front of HARC in the weeks to follow. The update to the Historic Guidelines and Standards are likewise seeing considerable progress at the HARC level. The staff did a commendable job in preparing the record for the recent call-up and is currently working on important policy objectives identified by the Town Council.
Public Works- Assistance with numerous public projects including the Pandora project, road resurfacing, equipment upgrade and replacement and grant writing. Transit hours have been increased to coincide with gondola hours during special events.
Public Safety- The Marshal’s Office is currently recruiting for a new deputy and continues to be understaffed. Efforts are being taken to increase traffic enforcement on Colorado Avenue and parking enforcement continues throughout the community. Center lane parking enforcement will be implemented in the days ahead. The CAB is meeting bi-monthly.
Finance- Preparing for the mid-year budget adjustments and budget season which is just around the corner. The 2011 audit has been successfully completed. The department is implementing the online sales tax revenue collection as well as VRBO and business licensing.
Town Clerk- Has also assisted in the outsourcing of sales tax collection and VRBO. This will be well in place in the weeks to follow, as it is currently being implemented. The Clerk’s Department is providing much increased service in terms of minutes taking and record management pertaining to the numerous boards and commissions that are now in operation. The Department just hired a new employee, who will be undergoing significant training in the months to follow.
All in all, the first six months of 2012 have been extremely active. The council is working well together and staff is accomplishing many important projects and tasks. From my perspective as the mayor, I can honestly say this has been the most active six months of my time in office. I still thoroughly enjoy the role that I have in Telluride and thank the council and the citizens of the region for all their support and confidence. We are looking forward to the remainder of this year and continuing to provide you with the results you are looking for and a government that is truly responsive to your needs.