No Immediate Cause for Worry
by Thomas Wirth
Aug 04, 2011 | 2100 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Town of Telluride’s finances are strong enough, despite the economic downturn, that there is no worry as now about the town’s ability to pay its bonds or to meet its obligations.

Town Finance Director Lynn Beck told the Telluride Town Council on Tuesday that the town has been on budget through the first half of the year, thanks in part to a budget that conservatively estimated revenues.

The one revenue stream that is slow is Real Estate Transfer Tax revenues, but Town Manager Greg Clifton explained that RETT, by its nature, is unpredictable. Beck added that there could quite possibly be an increase in building fee revenue in the later months of summer.

Councilmember David Oyster asked staff to make the town’s financial picture clear to the public. By law, the town must maintain a three percent reserve of funds, but Clifton explained that Telluride far exceeds that requirement by keeping 15-to-25 percent of its budget in reserve.

“If something unforeseen were to happen … we could still pay the note on the Valley Floor, correct?” Oyster asked, expressing what he said were some public concerns.

Clifton explained that the note securing the Valley Floor was structured to absorb quite a bit of downturn and Beck added that the town was separately required to keep a reserve of one year’s debt on the Valley Floor. Clifton stressed that the town was “nowhere close” to having to worry about making its payments.

In fact, the budget is strong enough to allow supplements so that the town can proceed with funding for a roundabout at Society Turn, continue wetland studies and prairie dog control on the Pearl Property, create infrastructure to broadcast council meetings on TCTV and the web, and reward some town staff with “well deserved” raises after a three year freeze.

Bikes to Share the Spur

The Telluride Town Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to allow bicycles back onto the Highway 145 Spur.

A group of cyclists had asked the town to allow them to ride on the Spur saying that the bike path had deteriorated to the point it was harmful to expensive road bikes and that the multi-use of the path created dangerous situations for speeding cyclists, pedestrians and their children and pets.

Chief Jim Kolar explained that several years ago bikes had been banned from the roadway because of car/bike conflicts, heavy construction traffic and the deterioration of the road surface. While he suggested that returning bikes to the road would create driver complaints, slower traffic and possible dangerous situations, Council was more swayed by the cyclists.

No Tax on Pot

The Telluride Town Council on Tuesday considered and then decided not to pursue the possibility of imposing a five percent tax on medical marijuana products and paraphernalia.

Council was persuaded by arguments from both members of the public and Council that since taxes are not collected on prescription drugs, it would be unfair to collect taxes on medical marijuana.

Councilmember Thom Carnavale expressed the prevailing sentiment, saying, “If indeed it is being used as it is claimed [medicinally], we shouldn’t burden someone struggling with illness.”

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