Approves GOCO Grant for Pool, Discusses Water Efficiency Plan
TELLURIDE – Telluride Town Council requested that the San Miguel County Intergovernmental Agreement be expanded to other communities in the region, and for a discussion of the possible formation of a Regional Transit Authority.
No formal vote was taken, and if such an authority is created, it would be a taxing district.
The county, which operates the Galloping Goose, which brings commuters from Norwood and Down Valley to Telluride, could add commuters from points beyond, including Montrose, Ophir and Silverton.
Last year, an effort to gather Telluride support for a November ballot question to form a transit authority failed, due to council’s unwillingness to support the associated tax burden of running the system.
The need for an RTA stems largely from the county’s lack of funding for regional commuter transit in the near future. County officials project that revenues supporting its current funding of commuter transit will be greatly diminished by 2017, which, observed Commissioner Joan May, underscores the need for a transit system with taxing authority.
“In San Miguel County, our buses run from Down Valley to Telluride and are funded by real estate transfer assessments,” said May. “We don’t have any money in those funds now, because there haven’t been many transfers lately. We’re in crunch mode.”
Councilor Bob Saunders pushed back, saying, “One of my reservations about the [Regional Transit Authority] is that the Telluride economy may not be viable, if this encourages people not to live in Telluride. Creating a Regional Transit Authority takes away our drive to create more affordable housing.”
While the work session rendered no official decisions, all councilors but Thom Carnevale supported consideration of an RTA.
Introduction of Water Efficiency Plan
The comprehensive settlement agreement between the Town of Telluride and the Idarado Mining Company states that the town must adopt a plan to increase the town’s water use efficiency prior to the opening of the Pandora Water Treatment Plan, slated for November 1 this year.
This week, the town began the initial phases of designing its water efficiency plan, to identify, reduce and monitor water losses in the Town’s water system.
Water levels have long been a pressing issue for Telluride, which has been forced to cancel its two most recent Fourth of July celebrations. Similarly, when water usage increases in the summer, the town prohibits watering lawns.
While the town has replaced a substantial portion of its municipal system’s main line, implemented a leak detection system, increased penalties for excessive water use and begun requiring low-flow fixtures for construction projects, increased efficiencies are needed. “Even though the Pandora plant will offer us a new source of water, there is no excuse for not increasing our water use efficiency,” said Mayor Stu Fraser.
Before it can operate the Pandora plant, the town must obtain the support of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, by planning and implementing a water efficiency plan.
Should the CWCB approve that efficiency plan, Fraser said, “even though the Pandora plant will offer the town more water, we must find ways to reduce our water usage.”
Council is expected to adopt a resolution approving the efficiency plan at its August 26 meeting. Because the town’s plan must be approved by the CWCB prior to the opening of the Pandora plant in November, the CWCB must approve the plan at its September 11 or 12 meeting in Glenwood Springs.
Town staff has not come forward with any specific instruments, policies or benchmarks, but plans to “optimize water efficiency throughout the water and wastewater system, which includes all water sewers as well as traditional infrastructure.”
Council Approves GOCO Grant for Pool Project
Council unanimously approved a Town of Telluride Parks and Recreations Department grant application for a $350,000 Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant to design and construct a new community pool and restroom and shower facilities.
The $350,000 is a significant portion of the project’s estimated $1.35 million budget. The town will contribute $700,000 from its capital fund, and San Miguel County will contribute up to $300,000.
The town’s current community pool, built in 1984, is showing “significant signs of fatigue,” said parks and recreation director Stephanie Jaquet.
“The community’s demand for the pool often outstrips the pool’s capacity,” she added.
This marks the first of a two-part project. (The second phase, including a separate outdoor family “zero depth entry” pool, is budgeted for 2017.)
The new pool will be larger in size, and will feature an expanded indoor locker room and shower areas.