#4 STORY OF 2010
Facing Three Ballot Measures in Hard Economic Times
by Watch Staff
Dec 29, 2010 | 1538 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
THE CAPELLA will close its doors on Jan. 31. (File photo)
THE CAPELLA will close its doors on Jan. 31. (File photo)
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Hard economic times weighing on local governments and residents continued to be an issue across the region in 2010, and is the fourth Watch story of the year.

In tune with much of the region and much of the country, the foreclosure rate continued to be high last year. In February, with more than an 800 percent increase since 2007, Ouray County saw the state’s largest percentage increase in foreclosure filings among Colorado’s 64 counties. 
In comparison to other counties in the state, Gunnison County was the only county to come close to Ouray County’s foreclosure filings with a 626 percent increase since 2007. For the same time period, San Miguel County saw an increase of 390 percent and Montrose County saw an increase of 187 percent.

The foreclosures didn’t stop there. In Mountain Village, it was announced in October that the lender for RAL Mountain Village Lodging LLC, the real estate development firm responsible for the construction of Capella Telluride and the Inn at Lost Creek, is in the process of filing for foreclosure on both properties. 
The decline in the economy continued to affect municipalities’ budgets and the services towns and cities provide. In Mountain Village, a wage freeze was been enacted for town staff, and parking in the Mountain Village parking deck is no longer free.

A bright spot appeared in rebounding sales tax numbers both in Telluride and Mountain Village compared to 2009.

With little to no construction development in Ridgway or Ouray County, any large-scale affordable housing plans have been put on hold.

School districts across the state had to face a painful 8 percent budget cut last year, and in Telluride it was feared that those cuts could be compounded by a drop in student enrollment. School officials were surprised to find at the start of the school year a slight increase in student enrollment, rather than a decrease.

Meanwhile, as if local governments didn’t have enough economic troubles to deal with, the Nov. 2 election included three ballot measures – Proposition 101, Amendments 60 and 61 – that would have drastically changed the way local governments provide services.

“We will literally have to go through each fund and have a hard-core discussion about the services we provide and the cost of those services,” Ouray Commissioner Heidi Albritton said last June. “I feel like we are already pared down. We would be down to basically clearing roads for school routes and not an awful lot more.”

Voters overwhelmingly rejected the ballot measures.
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