APRIL REPORT (CONT.) – From the TAR Government Affairs Department

APRIL REPORT (CONT.) – From the TAR Government Affairs Department

This Article was written By Nick Bokone, TAR Government Affairs Consultant

April Article 2 of 2, 2018 |

Town Council Discusses Mandatory Water Restrictions

At their last regular meeting in April, Telluride Town Council held a healthy discussion on the likely need for mandatory water restrictions later this year. Council asked Town Manager Ross Herzog to present an outline of possible restrictions to be released in the next week or so for discussion. Council will likely vote on the restrictions sometime around their May 29th meeting.

As has been done in the past, the proposed restrictions might have residences with odd house numbers restricted to irrigating on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during specific times. Even-numbered homes had Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays to irrigate.

As part of a water conservation presentation, town environmental and engineering division manager Karen Guglielmone presented some “alarming data,” including all area snowpack percentages being well below average. According to measurements recorded Friday, Telluride is at 21 percent of average snowpack, while Trout Lake is at 31 percent and Lizard Head Pass — the highest site at 10,200 feet — is at 51 percent.

The town’s water reservoirs are adequate at the moment and drinking water supplies are “robust,” but conservation efforts are critical, she added, especially since water shortages and wildfire danger are interconnected.

Telluride will follow Mountain Village’s decision to implement mandatory water restrictions.

The Mountain Village restrictions include all properties north of Mountain Village Boulevard and Elk Run residents to water their landscaping on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays only, and for all properties south of Mountain Village Boulevard, plus the Ski Ranches and Skyfield, to water their landscaping on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays only. All irrigating must happen either before 10 a.m. or after 5 p.m.

 Housing Needs Survey Results Expected by June

As you’re likely aware, the San Miguel Regional Housing Authority (SMRHA) recently closed a survey on April 30th to all households in San Miguel County. The purpose of the survey was to accurately measure the needs and opinions of everyone in the area regarding current housing stock, future needs, attitudes, and ideas related to housing. SMRHA contracted with Economic and Planning Systems and RRC Associates to complete the assessment.

The results of this survey are expected to be released and published sometime in June. Soon afterwards, there will be a series of meetings for elected officials and the public to determine what should be done with the survey results.

The last needs assessment was conducted and completed in 2010-11 during the recession so officals believe the current one will show more growth and housing opportunities. The 2011 assessment included San Miguel and Ouray counties, covering the peak of the construction boom to the depths of the recession, according to the executive summary. There were 767 respondents from San Miguel County, which represented 22 percent of the overall population at the time. Diaz said she expects similar participation for the 2018 study.

State News – CO Legislature Begins Task of Redistricting

With a 2020 census right around the corner set to give Colorado an eighth Congressional seat, there is a widespread belief among leaders in both parties and from advocates for unaffiliated voters that Colorado’s redistricting and reapportionment processes must be reformed to increase the competitveness of legislative and congressional seats.  The following Senate Concurrent Resolutions (SCR) refers this reform concept to the 2018 ballot for Colorado voters. Today those resolutions passed on second reading in the Senate.

SCR 18-004, sponsored by Senate President Grantham (R-Canon City) and Senator Fenberg (D-Boulder), amends the state constitution to create an independent congressional redistricting commission that is responsible for redrawing the U.S. congressional districts after the census. The commission is made up of 12 members that will develop a congressional districts map that uses a variety of factors, including competitiveness. The map must be approved by a super majority (8) with a minimum of 2 unaffiliated members.

SCR 18-005, also sponsored by Senate President Grantham and Senator Fenberg, amends the state constitution to create an independent legislative redistricting commission that is responsible for redrawing the state senate and state representative districts after the census. The commission is made up of 12 members that will develop a congressional districts map that uses a variety of factors, including competitiveness. The map must be approved by a super majority (8) with a minimum of 2 unaffiliated members.

The Colorado Association of REALTORS® Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) supports both senate concurrent resolutions.  CARPAC has also supported this concept through the Fair Districts Campaign. The LPC believes this legislation would give Colorado voters a chance to determine if a more fair and neutral process for redistricting and reapportionment should be instilled in Colorado. The changes to the existing line drawing systems could increase the likelihood of making legislative and congressional seats more competitive because potential legislators would have to appeal to a broader array of voters who maintain diverse opinions on issues that come before the U.S. Congress and the State Legislature.  This is a first in the nation type of reform to legislative and congressional map drawing that will reduce the likelihood of gerrymandering. It is the culmination of several diverse stakeholder groups working together to give all Coloradans whether they are Republican, Democrat, or Unaffiliated voters a voice in how the lines should be drawn.

 Federal News – NAR Meets with Lead Exposure Initiative

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt is taking action to address lead contamination across America by inviting his colleagues and fellow Cabinet members to join with EPA in developing a federal strategy to reduce childhood lead exposure. NAR, along with a broad stakeholder coalition, recently met with Tim Epp, the director of this initiative, to discuss this action and related areas of concern.

The purpose of this initiative is to develop a federal strategy to reduce childhood lead exposure and eliminate associated health impacts and builds on Administrator Pruitt’s calls for a renewed effort to update our nation’s water infrastructure, especially in regard to lead in drinking water systems.

CFPB’s Latest Request for Information

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has issued the likely last notice in a series of Requests for Information (RFIs) examining how the agency handles consumer complaints and inquires.

Since July 2011, the CFPB has received more than 1.5 million consumer complaints, which the agency aims to respond to in a timely and understandable manner by communicating with the provider of the consumer financial product or service. The agency received more than 200,000 consumer inquiries in 2017, which allows consumers to ask questions about financial products or services, submit a complaint, or check the status of a complaint. The agency will provide educational materials and tools, and other relevant government resources, in response to consumer inquiries. In this RFI, the agency is seeking feedback on how to improve these processes, such as the adoption of web chat systems to support submissions.

The CFPB has issued a number of other RFIs on various agency practices in order to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the agency.  NAR will be submitting comments on the RFIs and encourage feedback from members wishing to weigh in on these important issues anonymously. For more on the CFPB’s RFI efforts, including future requests, please visit this page on the CFPB website: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/policy-compliance/notice-opportunities-comment/open-notices/call-for-evidence/

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