One Person One Vote – Second Homeowners Voting Rights Subverts Community in Name of Investment

There’s currently an effort in the area to start up a Regional Transit Authority … which would essentially be an entity designed to coordinate and pool together the resources of various current local transportation entities into a single and more efficient Regional Transit Authority.

I attended the Ophir General Assembly meeting earlier in May and learned the Telluride Mountain Village is apparently leaning toward not joining this newly proposed entity due what I believe was conveyed to us as a concern that second homeowners in the TMV – who currently enjoy the right to vote at the municipal level (even if it’s not their primary residence) – would not be allowed to vote in RTA matters due to state bylaws or some other stipulation which would prevent their official participation.

I believe the Town of Telluride readily jumped on board the new RTA and one might have suspected that the TMV would’ve been running to the finish line to join in as well … given that the Gondola is currently a huge financial expense to the TMV and perhaps there might be a way to integrate and disperse it’s operational costs into a “grand bargain” among local area governments via some horse trading of sorts.

However, there apparently exists either a general fear or hesitation that second homeowners won’t be included and thus be “roped along for the ride” if any tax measures are put to a vote in the future.

As an Ophir resident, I learned that each incorporated municipality will be allowed their own compartmentalized or bifurcated vote … which was, in a similar light, a major concern many of us in Ophir shared as well as other smaller towns such as Norwood in so far as getting roped into having to an increase in our taxes to cover the costs of large transportation measures which primarily involved the two big entities (Town of Telluride & the TMV).

So, I can see where the second homeowners are coming from; however, this shines the light of day on one of the major downside of allowing second homeowners to vote in so far as viewing such issues almost exclusively through a lens of “financial investment” vs. that of a “community perspective”. I don’t think this distinction can be overstated.

While it’s true that residents of Ophir and smaller towns might share similar concerns about getting taxed and not receiving a proportional return of benefits, I believe the TMV case of second homeowners is different in kind vs. degree.

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