Council Welcomes Incumbents Michelle Sherry and Mayor Jansen
Mountain Village – The Mountain Village Town Council held a swearing-in ceremony for council newcomer Michelle Sherry and incumbent councilors Richard Child and Cath Jett. An election scheduled for this spring was canceled, due to the lack of candidates. Incumbents and appointments filled the open seats.
Councilmember Sherry, owner and operator of Telluride Land Works and Telluride Snow Removal, has worked and lived in Mountain Village for more than 20 years. As a landowner, business owner and resident, she has a natural interest in Mountain Village town government. “I feel I can represent the interests of local families, businesses and property owners,” she wrote, in a brief biography, adding that “I am also aware of the concerns of part time residents as many of them are my longtime clients.”
Council reappointed Dan Jansen, mayor of Mountain Village since January.
Jansen spent his career working in both private sector and nonprofit industries, which earned him a unique perspective, he said. He is the founder and CEO of Virtual Greats, a social media company that helps companies monetize their online presence. His nonprofit work includes serving on the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Committee, working with a federally chartered credit union helping students and assisting an independent high school serving low-income communities.
Jansen, who believes his unique experiences enable him to be an effective mayor, said, “The issues facing our community require a thoughtful approach to problem solving that balances many interests and perspectives, which I offer.”
Delves had only words of praise for Jansen and the new council, saying that “the new Town Council led by Major Jansen and Mayor Pro Tem Jett looks like a very strong and competent body.
“I first ran for Council eight years ago with the desire to give our citizens a more transparent, accountable and efficient government,” he added. “By and large, I think we accomplished those things, and did so in a respectful and thoughtful manner.” During his tenure, Delves and the Town Council guided the town through the initial stings of the Great Recession, led efforts to decrease Telluride Ski Resort’s influence over Mountain Village, helped improve government budgeting and accounting transparency and improved relations with other regional governments.
Delves and previous councils guided Mountain Village through turbulent years, and Jansen and the new council face continuing challenges. Property taxes, which account for almost a third of the town’s 2013 revenues, are projected to remain low in the coming years, even as the U.S. housing market continues to improve. Property values in Colorado lag behind current market trends, due largely to state appraisal laws requiring county governments to appraise property every even-number year. As a result, property taxes continue to lag because of the mandated appraisal cycle.
Mountain Village government has mitigated the property tax shortfall by adopting austere fiscal policies that have cut staff and benefits, froze wages, deferred road maintenance and extended the life of town vehicles. In the coming years, the town will likely continue operating frugally while exploring other income sources.
“As transactional tax revenues increase, the town’s historically high dependence on property taxes should decrease,” according to the 2011 Mountain Village Comprehensive Plan, which was created by Delves, the Town Council and residents. The plan offers guidelines on creating more year-round tourism and improving the overall town economy. Highlights of the plan include allowing the potential development of more hotels, improving amenities and protecting existing recreational experience.
With a solid give-and-take relationship now well-established between Mountain Village, the Town of Telluride and San Miguel County, “The town should step up to play a larger role. I see Mayor Jansen and the current council as well equipped to do just that,” Delves said.