As a voting member of the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association who attended the two most recent meetings where a change to the articles of incorporation was proposed, I would like to share with other voting members my own observations and conclusions.
I am disappointed with those members of our board of directors who continue to act exclusively in their own short term “corporate bottom line” self interest and ignore the “fairness” and “equity” issues that will eventually win out and should be directing their actions in this matter. TMVOA is experiencing a normal evolution from a “development” model where a single corporate entity holds the control of the collective purse strings to minimize its own financial risk to a “community building and sustainability” model where homeowners, who carry over 80 percent of TMVOA operating cost, should be awarded an increased voice in decision making.
In spite of Mr. Riley’s efforts to label this fundamental issue of equity in voting rights for those who fund the $4 million annual budget as an anti-ski company vendetta by a few of our members, this is simply not the case. The ski hill brought me here and I want to see Telski’s continued success.
But the single, undeniable fact is crystal clear to all resident and non-resident property owners that more than 80 percent of the revenues of the organization will come directly from the pockets of Mountain Village homeowners, while they only have barely a quarter of the vote. Residential, as the only one of the four classes of members (Telski, Lodging, Commercial and Residential) does not receive direct benefit from the millions of dollars spent each year for advertisement, community planning, special events on the mountain, concerts in the village core, and grants for promotional efforts, as well as funding the operation of the gondola.
It is a matter of basic fairness that a class that is paying over 80 percent of the costs should be given at least four of nine votes toward deciding how our money is spent.
What happened at the lightly attended meeting on Wednesday was troubling. Mr. Volponi of Telluride Capella reversed his vote, saying that he had been advised by “a number” of his Lodging Class constituents that “diluting the lodging’s vote on the board was not in our best interest.” He then called for some sort of community dialogue on this issue somewhere in the distant future.
I for one always thought that was what elections were for. There is no truer canvassing of a community than at the voting booth, where each member must decide the direction of their organization. All members of each class would have their say. It is also absurd that a single business entity, such as the ski company, should have a veto power to effectively ignore the will of the majority of the revenue generating membership of a not-for-profit organization for their own business purposes. A fully democratic process should be the one and only rule of governance for our homeowners association.
The current numbers are frightening. With a projected revenue stream in 2009 of over $6 million and a TMVOA operating budget of over $4 million, only about $160,000 in RETA has been collected through the end of this month. If the housing market continues its slump our revenues could be under a million dollars for the year. Even if all other TMVOA’s ski area and visitor industry related promotional and planning expenditures are cut to zero, we as homeowners will be required to assess ourselves for the $3 million gondola costs, plus the operational costs of the association.
We are obligated to assume this financial burden while we presently hold barely a quarter of the voting board seats. Without this logical and overdue adjustment to the representation of homeowners on the board, those Telski and Lodging class members who voted against an election are clearly guilty of “taxation without representation.”
I would urge the board to quickly reverse their decision again and allow a vote to proceed. As this is unlikely to happen I hope all members will join me in adding their names to a petition calling for the election as soon as possible. Only 10 percent of us are needed to take the time to make this election happen. Join me in calling together our own “Boston Tea Party.”