Mountain Village’s annual budget process is underway; the town anticipates another conservation and prudent budget for 2010
We are beginning our early stages of preparing the 2010 annual budget. We anticipate, for the third year in a row, limited revenues from development fees and sales tax. To meet our immediate decline in revenues over the past year, the Council and management staff reacted quickly by reducing expenditures in mid-2008, in the approved 2009 budget, and in the subsequent amended 2009 budget this past March. To reduce the expenditures necessary to balance the budget, we utilized both a short-term cutback management approach and a strategic approach focused on the delivery of basic services regarding police, road maintenance, snow removal, the analysis of long-term savings vs. one-time reductions, and the projected revenue/expenditures over five years.
To date, these efforts are visible as we have greatly reduced capital expenditures for vehicles and rolling stock; cut capital improvements regarding our trail system and road and bridge repair work; trimmed operational costs across all departments; and of significant impact, reduced our workforce by 10 percent: managers/supervisors in various departments, maintenance personal, building inspectors, gondola mechanics, and Dial-a-Ride drivers. These reductions have a direct impact on services, and one that was more obvious than others was the impact on our Dial-a-Ride taxi service. There is some misconception in the community that Dial-a-Ride is funded by the Real Estate Transfer Assessment through the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association (TMVOA). This is not the case. Dial-a-Ride is funded through our General Fund by a combination of development fees and sales and property taxes. Due to the reduction in General Fund revenues, Dial-a-Ride taxi service was reduced in 2009, meaning fewer drivers per shift and the elimination of this service during the spring and fall shoulder seasons.
The Mountain Village mayor and Town Council have demonstrated a high level of competence during this recession, and have provided our management team with direction to insure that, as an organization, we provide the best service we can during difficult economic times. To accomplish this, we have maintained the following goals and objectives throughout the 2008 and 2009 budget processes:
Strive to be an adaptive and transparent organization
Educate the community about town-related issues and challenges
Implement a long-term financial plan and explore diversifying the revenue base
Maintain adequate reserves
Establish fees for services reflecting the cost of delivery
Define performance measures for the delivery of services
For 2009, we developed our first ever budget program focused on departmental goals and performance measures. The result was far from perfect, but it represented a major step forward in tying cost of service to accomplishments. The budget program concept will continue to be refined and improved upon in 2010.
Also for this next year, Mountain Village residents – fulltime and seasonal – and visitors can expect us to focus on providing the usual core services while continuing to strive for excellent customer service with our gondola operators, shuttle and Dial-a-Ride drivers, maintenance personnel, law enforcement officers, building inspectors, and administrative staff. We will continue to focus on strengthening the important partnerships we have with the Town of Telluride, San Miguel County, TMVOA, Telluride Ski and Golf, and others as we analyze municipal services, look for alternatives for delivery of services, and leverage the newest technology available to us. Throughout both the lean times and the good times, it is vitally important that we, as your local government, and with the community at large, engage in an ongoing dialogue about priorities, with our eye on the long-term sustainability of Mountain Village.