Calling for a Mountain Village ‘Tea Party’
by Greg Ritter
Mar 02, 2009 | 1405 views | 6 6 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print

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.”
Comments-icon Post a Comment
March 02, 2009
Meadows' post is simply playing the "class warfare card" as a tactic (a poor one at that). The residents actually put together a very thoughtful proposal; however, I would argue it still gives Telski too much. At this point in the game Telski should consider itself lucky to get one vote as long as it's not contributing funds to the pool.

If Telski only had one vote, the representation of both the lodging & commercial classes could also scale up to proper representational proportion along with the residents.

March 02, 2009
So the residents want more control. I say BS to that. We're the workers who make your restaurants, shops, and lifts turn. This is a total insult to us.

Whoever put this together, attention Mr. Childs, has made a big mistake. You're creating class warfare and making the "residents" look really bad.

I say VETO it Telski! Yeah!
Speak Out
March 02, 2009
Beyond the equity investment many second homeowners see our community as, those who live and work year round in the MV community have a desire to see the area become economically sustainable. However, the majority of full time residents of MV are not granted a vote or a voice in the allocation of funds.

Those who know best how to address the problems facing the community are denied the chance to speak to the matter. Sadly, this is also the class that feels the effects of the TMVOA Board's decisions most profoundly.

Richard Childs is terribly concerned about "taxation without representation". Perhaps he needs to step back an examine the movement he leads. If he is as concerned about the issue as he says, then I expect Mr. Childs will be sending out yet another email calling for ALL residents votes to be counted, not just the votes of those who are fortunate enough to be able to afford to purchase a home. After all, it is the renters that are actually paying the assessments every month, not the owners.

If you live here, work here, and would like the long hours and energy you commit to this area to mean something, SPEAK OUT. Send an email, call the Board. Board email addresses are posted at

Enough is enough. This is YOUR community. Fight for it!

Renter Not a Buyer
March 02, 2009
tbar is right on! I live and work here and spend my money here 365. I am told that my owner is permitted to allow me to vote on this matter, but they have denied my request. Is that democracy? Where is the authority for that 80% figure that is quoted? Has anyone backed that up? Where is it said that only residential will pick up the tab? Back it up please, don't play on fear! No direct benefit? How about an increase in market value for your home greater than the national average (7%) at 12% per year? (TAR) Please....
March 02, 2009

PLease dont write and say you live here and have so much concern for the Mountain Village. I've been in Telluride for 35 years and own commercial property in MV and have a vote too. It saddens me to see the Mountain Village which was set up to be a town of commerce turn into a ghost town where owners expect a quiet nap time from 4-6 and everthing shuts down at 10:00 PM .
March 02, 2009
You should have been more aware of what you where doing before you bought into the HOA. The rules where first set up in the PUD and continued through the TMVOA. It's just like a second homeowner to want to change the rules after the fact. You get what you pay for . Homes go for more than 3 million a piece and you are complaining about a 4 million tax ! Telski provides commerce and jobs for the region, its been a continuous company doing business here since 1972. People like you come and go- your second home sits empty most of the year sucking up precious resources and creating pollution. Owners like you come and go. Owners like you want to spend money on parties,pet projects and other unnecessary items that make you feel good about the two weeks you spend here. You use it up for two or three years and move on to your next utopia. There is very sound reasoning for the vote to be set up the way it is- to protect the community from fickle owners that come and go like you. Bravo to Mr Volponi for being concerned and standing up for the business community -some of us actually LIVE and WORK here .