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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 2017 SMPA BOARD CANDIDATES ANNOUNCED At the April 25th San Miguel Power Association (SMPA) Board Meeting, the candidates for the upcoming SMPA board election were announced.  In district #5, which includes Mountain Village and Ophir, the candidates are Joseph Shults and Rube Felicelli.

In District #7, which includes Silverton and Ouray, the candidates are Dawn Glanc, Deedra Williams and Terry Rhoades. Anyone who purchases power from SMPA and resides within the SMPA service territory is a member.  SMPA Board members are elected from the membership, by the membership.

They are chosen from seven different districts within the territory. Each district contains approximately 1,300 members who vote only for their own district representative.

SMPA's board members serve four-year terms.  View the director district map at www.smpa.com -> About Us -> Board of Directors. San Miguel Power members elect their board of directors by secret mail-in ballot or at the Annual Meeting of the Membership, held this year at the SMPA Ridgway office (720 N. Railroad St., Ridgway) on June 8th from 4:30 - 6:30 pm.

(Polls close at 5:30 pm.) Ballots will be mailed to members of districts #5 and #7 on May 15th.  Mail-in ballots must be received by June 7th, or members may vote at the Annual Meeting. San Miguel Power's Annual Meeting is one of the most important events for all SMPA members to attend. It is an opportunity for members of the cooperative to gather and review the activities of the association over the past year.

The theme of this year's meeting is "The Challenge of Change,"and at the meeting, members can learn about new SMPA programs that are responding to member desires and the changing electric industry. Members will also be given dinner and a $10.00 bill credit for their attendance.

Other exhibits, games and prizes will also be there. Board Election results will be announced at the conclusion of the Annual Meeting. San Miguel Power Association, Inc. is a member-owned, locally-controlled rural electric cooperative with offices in Nucla and Ridgway, Colo.

It is the mission of San Miguel Power Association to demonstrate corporate responsibility and community service while providing our members safe, reliable, cost effective and environmentally responsible electrical service. SMPA serves approximately 9,600 members and 14,000 meters and supports local communities with $300,000 annually in property taxes and $400,000 in energy efficiency and renewable energy rebates.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

The Montrose Country Historical Society is pleased to present the Second Annual Author's Affair May 6 from 1-4pm at the Centennial Room (off of the Centennial Plaza) downtown Montrose. Local and regional authors will be showcasing their work for the public.

The books presented range from poetry, inspirational topics and the challenges of care giving to local history and ghost stories. The fictional works include both psychological thrillers and historical fiction.

And lovers of fantasy won't be disappointed either. Don't miss the opportunity to celebrate our local writers! For more information, call Sally at 249-2085.

Boat ramps open May 1 at Crawford, Sweitzer Lake state parks DELTA, Colo. -- Two of western Colorado's favorite reservoirs open May 1 at Crawford State Park and Sweitzer Lake State Park. Crawford Reservoir is located south of the town of Crawford in Delta County just off Colorado Highway 92. Sweitzer Lake is located south of the town of Delta just off U.S.

Highway 50. At both reservoirs the aquatic nuisance species inspection stations will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; on May 15 inspection hours change to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and continue through September.

Boaters must be sure that their boats are clean, drained and dried before going to the ANS station. Boaters with a seal are responsible for presenting their receipt. Boat owners are also reminded to be sure they have registered their craft for the 2017 season; and don't forget about getting your new fishing license. Boaters must carry the proper number of Coast Guard-approved life jackets and a noise-signal device. Please review Colorado boating regulations to be sure your boat is equipped with all required safety gear. Water temperatures in most Colorado reservoirs will remain very cold well into June, so boaters are cautioned to be prepared. CPW recommends that you wear your life jacket whenever you're on the water. For more information, call the parks at 970-921-5721. Campsite reservations can be made through the Colorado Parks and Wildlife web site at: http://cpw.state.co.us.

FOLLOWUP: OBT WRAP SUBARU BUDGETED UNDER TRANSIT IN 2014, PURCHASED IN 2016 By Gail Marvel MONTROSE-The City of Montrose Office of Business and Tourism (OBT) is a relatively new organization which was established in 2014. The funding stream comes from a combination of the Retail Sales Enhancement Fund (retail tax paid by vendors) and the Tourism Promotion Fund (lodging and restaurant tax). Aside from Director Rob Joseph, the organization has one-part time and four full-time employees holding positions in marketing, guest services/visitor's center, special events and technical (website, video). At the inception of OBT, Assistant City Manager Rob Joseph was tapped to become the director. Joseph has 15 years' experience in the private sector, seven years teaching at the college level and five years in the public sector.

His education includes three Masters (Public Administration, Arts in the Western Classics and Arts in the Eastern Classics), and a Bachelor of Arts.  Starting out, Joseph had a learning curve in the area of tourism. However, in the last three years he has earned certification as a Destination Management Executive.

The OBT budget comes under the purview of the Tourism Retail Advisory Committee (12 community members), the city manager and ultimately the Montrose City Council for approval.  In the past few weeks the Mirror learned city council was unaware that the OBT purchased a new Subaru and that the vehicle was scheduled to be wrapped (advertising) in the near future. In a follow-up to the story the Mirror interviewed Joseph and this report is an accumulation of our research.

Unspent funds in the OBT budget roll over each year and while the expenditure for the vehicle was approved in the 2014 budget, it was not purchased until August 2016. This non-descript line item is listed under Programs, with the subcategory "Transit Project - $30,000." Once the vehicle was purchased it was put into the city fleet and will be swapped out for replacement in five to seven years.

The $30,100 used to purchase the vehicle came from the Tourism Promotional Fund and since the city manager has authority to approve all expenditures under $50,000, this purchase did not go before city council. The Subaru was selected because of style, which Joseph thought represented the recreational and tourism image, and purchased locally. The vehicle did not go out for a competitive bid; however, Joseph went to other dealers in town and did a cursory comparison of sticker prices.

Joseph said, "From an advertising standpoint there is nothing that gives us more bang for the buck than a wrapped vehicle." Request for Quotes for the advertising wrap went out to four local sign companies. Two responses were received, but only InDesign is in a position to do the work at this time.

Joseph said, "We are working on final design options now." Approximate cost for the wrap is $2,500. Recently the OBT purchased a raft for about $4,000 and a promotional logo that brands Montrose will be applied. Joseph said, "We are going to take people down the river when they want to invest in our community. The raft will open Fun Fest.

City government is no longer just health, welfare and safety. Marketing and sales are relatively new for city government."  Other promotional city vehicles include two golf carts and plans are in the works to put advertising on three other city vehicles.

OBT: ABRAMS PROVIDED FALSE ROOM NIGHT NUMBERS AFTER $17.5K PAYOUT; CITY MUST REPAY CTO By Gail Marvel MONTROSE On April 19 the Tourism Retail Advisory Committee (TRAC) held their quarterly meeting. Committee members present were: CJ Brafford, Scott Beyer, Debbie Blanchard, Dave Bowman, Fletcher Flower, Ashley Pietak, Scott Voorhis, Rick Warner and Paul Zaenger.

Others present were: Office of Business and Tourism (OBT) Director Rob Joseph, OBT Operations Manager David Spear, Mayor Judy Ann Files, city councilmen Roy Anderson and Dave Bowman and the media.  Announcements: Co-Chair Dave Bowman announced concerts will be held every two weeks throughout the summer. Paul Zaenger announced first quarter visitor attendance for the Black Canyon National Park is up 42 percent for the winter. Visitors in 2016 were up 14 percent, with April showing a trend.

Colorado Flights Alliance (CFA) Economic Impact Study Update - A study will be conducted in August. Speaking from a councilman perspective Anderson said, "I think it will be really valuable.

If we [city] give X dollars to the airport what is the economic impact?" Note of explanation: The OBT contracted with Abrams Strategic Group (Josh Freed and Dennis Lankes) to produce and then manage software for an Advanced Reservation System which was intended to track OBT's efforts in filling hotel rooms.  Pietak said, "The winter airline program did not work. I had four reservations and they all cancelled.

Josh didn't reach out to me until February and by March the snow was all gone."  When asked about the reservation and CFA funds Joseph said, "I don't want to put our partners in an uncomfortable position." Councilman Bowman said, "We [city council] heard it was extremely successful."  Joseph explained that originally there was $75,000 seed money; $50,000 from the city and a $25,000 grant from the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO). "The program didn't get off the ground until late.

We had committed to having 100 room nights and were told that we had 74. It turned out that that number was not substantiated.

We ended up with a big goose egg and a lot of promises."  Last week Joseph went to Denver and met with the state tourism office, "We will have to return $16,250 to CTO and pay a little bit of a penalty...we won't be able to apply for any grants in the 2017-2018 season. I can't share with you my disappointment."  Beyer cut to the chase, "You keep saying partner, who is the partner?"Joseph acknowledged they were working with Abrams and that the information provided to OBT by Abrams was not factual. Joseph said, "We've terminated everything we were doing with them and are looking to go to a different company." Bowman said, "This is the first I've heard about it."  Abrams Strategic Group was paid $17,500 and both tourism organizations will split the loss, leaving the Montrose OBT out $8,750. However, Joseph feels the software created specifically for OBT will be beneficial in the future and he will meet with Abrams next week to gain possession of the software that is owned by the city.

Ride the Rockies Update: The Ride the Rockies concert will be held downtown, rather than in Cerise Park. Bowman said, "We are the only stop where there will be a downtown party on concrete rather than grass!" TRAC Member Elections: Outgoing committee members Mayor Judy Ann Files and Rick Warner were recognized with a token of appreciation. All other members were re-appointed, leaving one open seat on the committee.

Discussion ensued about many community boards and committees struggling to find members.  New Business and General Discussion: Retail Sales Enhancement Fund (RSE) is a revenue source for OBT. The role and expectations of the RSE fund will be impacted once city council makes a decision on the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and the Main Street Program.

Blanchard, a DDA board member, noted the angst that was caused when the city manager attempted to dissolve the DDA. "The way in which it was done was inappropriate.

It put us back a good two months. We're sorry we didn't go ahead and hire an executive director.

It was a little bit of a power grab and it deflated the board."  Bowman said, "The DDA would like to get rid of the Main Street Program. Bill [city manager] wants to do more with downtown, but the DDA wants to keep it."  Blanchard said, "I don't want the politics."  Discussion took a walk down memory lane as the group went back to the inception of the RSE funds, the intent of the fund, the different organizations managing the funds (MAMA) and today's misconceptions.  How can TRAC address the perception that OBT does not do anything for businesses? Byers is bothered by the perception and rejected the idea that OBT is responsible to bring in customers, "Businesses are responsible for bringing customers into their own business. There needs to be a change of philosophy and culture."  Discussion included marketing strategies, social media, newsletters and grants for special events. Joseph suggested hiring a part-time (28 hrs.) event coordinator.

However, the committee strongly suggested the part-time position would be set up for failure and that it was a full-time position. Beyer said, "In the city you have a lot of people wearing a lot of different hats.

Eventually your programs will fail."  OBT Fleet Purchase and Budget Approval Process: See accompanying story: "Backstory and Follow-Up Report on the Office of Business and Tourism (OBT) purchase of a new Subaru."