Friday, October 26, 2007

ROOF HEALTH: Winter weather can be harsh on roof systems. Making sure the roof drainage system is in good shape now will help minimize problems in a winter storm and prevent leaks.

In most cases, metal or plastic gutters are hung along the eave of the roof and carry the water to downspouts, which discharge the water at ground level. The downspouts must be large enough to handle all the water collected by the gutters in a reasonable time period. At least one downspout is usually needed for each 25-30 feet of gutter length.

Gutters must be sloped toward the downspouts for proper flow. The downspouts should be piped away from the house foundation to prevent water accumulation and eventual seepage into the foundation. If underground lines are present, be certain to keep them unclogged and flowing. Gutters and downspouts also help reduce erosion along the foundation and protect steps and walkways from unwanted water (and ice) buildup.

Regular cleaning of gutters and downspouts, especially after the fall, is essential. A major cause of roof drainage failure is blockage due to leaves, twigs and sediment buildup. Also, coating of gutter interiors and sealing of seams may be needed in some cases to prolong their useful life and prevent leakage.

Remember, these tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a professional if you have questions about a specific issue.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

STATISTICS: The Durango Area Association of Realtors just completed its statistics for the 3rd quarter of 2007.

The total number of residential home sales for In-Town Durango increased slightly by 1%
compared to the same period in 2006, while In-Town Bayfield saw a decrease in units sold of 20%.

Average days on market for In-Town Durango increased by 1% to 133 days as compared to the
same period in 2006 and In-Town Bayfield decreased 17% to 115 days.

The condo/town home market experienced a 30% decrease in the number of units sold in both the Durango and Resort markets over the same period last year. The median price decreased for Durango units to $230,000 with average days on market of 90 days down from 239 same quarter last year.
The Resort market experienced a 30% decrease in the median price to $177,750 with
average days on market increase of 85% to 283 days.

The median price for a La Plata County country home stayed consistent at $379,450 in comparison to the previous quarter. This is an increase of 11% from the same period in 2006. The number of units sold is down slightly while total volume increased 3%.
While our market has slowed, it is important to note that only the condominium market has experienced a draw-back in prices; understandable due to the rapid price appreciation over the last two years and the number of units available.
Compared to the major real estate markets across the country our little piece of the world 1s doing quiet well.

Monday, October 22, 2007

2008 BUDGET: Here is a summary of major capital improvement projects included in the city of Durango's 200 budget:

Streets and associated improvements - $1,507,500 for alley repaving, road construction, walk ramps, etc.

Parks and Recreation Department - $6,642,800 for parks, open space and trails and greenway acquisition.

Facility and system improvements - $1,003,00 for radio and computer upgrades for the police department, for the City Hall heating, air-conditioning upgrade and for the affordable housing fund.

Water and sewer systems - $2,116,750

Parking improvements - $1,653,750 for paving, vehicle washer, bus-stop shelters and signs.

Airport - $283,000 to replace the terminal's roof, to renovate the restrooms and to build an employee parking lot.

Total for Capital Improvements Program = $13,216.800

Thursday, October 18, 2007

WATER STANDARDS: Strict, new water standards approved by the La Plata County commissioners aim to curtail growth where the water supply is inadequate but make a concession to very small subdivisions by permitting them to rely on water being trucked in.

The standards apply only to new developments; existing subdivisions are not affected. Only two lot subdivisions, or in some cases, agricultural lands being subdivided into three lots, can rely on trucked in water. Land owners must prove no well water in available and sign a waiver saying La Plata Count cannot be held responsible in the case that they cannot find a water supplier.

The standards require subdivisions with five or more lots to do a comprehensive groundwater study, which can cost between $25,000 and $30,000. The amount of water required for each household would still be 350 gallons a day, but the new standards would allow developers to use a lower estimate if the could prove it was adequate.

The rules now become part of the county's new land-use code.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

WATER: Southwestern Water Conservation District board members have approved a $100,000 grant to further a long standing project to bring drinking water to the Dryside, as southwestern La Plata County is known.

The grant, which was approved Monday, will pay for the pursuit of permits, environmental studies and money to build the backbone of a potable water system.

The La Plata West Water Co. has been supported by small grants for several years while it looked for ways to give residents of southwest La Plata County a reliable source of water. Many southwest county residents now must truck water from a spring in Marvel or rely on a well.

The cost of the backbone of the system, engineering and construction of an intake structure, water treatment plant and a trunk line to carry Animas La Plata Project (A-LP) water to the New Mexico line is estimated at $49 million.

The Animas-La Plata Project is a negotiated settlement of Indian water rights claims. The Upper La Plata Water Conservancy District and others are entitled to water from the project. The La Plata Water Conservancy District owns 700 acre feet of A-LP water, which has been made available to La Plata West for nontribal water users. The city of Durango is purchasing 1,900 acre feet of water from A-LP.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

IGNACIO: Ignacio is experiencing a period of economic growth unlike anything in recent memory. Revenue from local sales tax soared 26 percent from 1995 to 2005 and property tax revenue rose 26 percent as well. A variety of new businesses have opened their doors on Ignacio's main Goddard Avenue, and others are expanding. Several factors are contributing to the upturn.

First there was the natural gas boom. Gas well pads form a patchwork on the lands surrounding the town. Much of that land is owned by the Southern Ute Indian tribe. Thanks to high gas prices and wise investments, the tribe has seen its worth mushroom to about $4 billion. It is said the tribe controls the distribution of about 1 percent of the nation's natural gas supply. Much of the traffic generated by this production funnels through Ignacio. Many workers stop for lunch and take advantage of other services in the town.

Also boosting traffic is construction of the new Sky Ute Casino Resort just north of the town. The new resort, schedules for completion in December 2008, is expected to provide between 400 and 600 jobs.

Another draw was Ignacio Bike Week, which filled the void left by the storied Iron Horse Motorcycle Rally and brought about 20,000 people to town this last Labor Day weekend.

One thing Ignacio doesn't have is the sky-high prices for property that Durango has. We have numerous 35 acres parcels on the market beginning at $140,000. Try to find that in the Durango marketplace.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

DIVERSE DURANGO: This past weekend the Durango Cowboy Gathering filled the Diamond Circle Theater and the Abby Theater with cowboy poetry and songs. Highlighting the event was a motorless parade and a Horse Exposition. Cowboys and cowgirls were everywhere.

At the same time, Saturday night Durango went Mo-Town. The Community Concert Hall played host to the Coasters, Marvelettes and, best of all, the Platters. This talent packed show presented most of each group's number 1's, including "The Great Pretender", "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" and "Twilight Time."

Western swing, campfire music and Mo-Town - only in Durango! If you're not living here - we can help.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Does lowering the thermostat at night mean that it takes more energy to reheat the house each morning?

According to the La Plata Electric Association, it is a myth that it takes as much energy to reheat a house in the morning as was saved during the temperature setback period overnight. The amount of heat a house loses through its walls, ceilings and floors is directly proportional to the difference between the indoor and the outdoor temperatures. Air leakage into and out of your house also increases with larger temperature differences.

When the indoor temperature is set lower, the indoor to outdoor temperature difference is smaller, so less heat is lost from your house. If less heat is lost, your furnace has to use less electricity to create the heat to replace it. The amount of heat used to reheat the house, therefore, is less than the amount saved over the temperature setback period.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

ECONOMY: Deborah Walker, Associate Professsor of Economics and co-director of the Office of Economic Analysis and Business Research at Fort Lewis College, says our local economy continues to look good despite what we hear from some economists regarding the national credit crunch caused by problems in the mortgage lending market.

Even thought we might eventually feel some of the fall out, as of now most local indicators are still positive. We are lucky to live in a fairly diverse seconomy and do not have to rely on one sector to keep jobs and income growing.

In looking at the local labor market, for example, the average number of people in the labor force in the second quarter of 2006 in La Plata County was 91,627. In 2007 the average increased to 93,800. The number of people in the county who want jobs is growing and our economy is accommodating them with new jobs. Most business people we talk to are looking for people to work.

The average unemployment rate in the second quarter of 2006 was 3.4 percent. In 2007 the rate was down to 2.6 percent.

The trend in Tourism is upward with with more passengers using the Durango-LaPlata County Airport and an increase in riders on The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
Agriculture dollars, an important sector in our economy, increased 16 percent in second quarter of 207 over the same period in 2006.

Median home prices increased 3.9 percent in Durango, 30.8 percent in Bayfield and 34.5 percent at the resort areas. The number of sales has slowed but values remain strong.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

OPEN SPACE: The dedication of a portion of Durango's sales tax to preserve open space was cited as a bright spot in the 2007 Colorado Conservation Trust report on land conservation statewide.

In 2006, Colorado land trusts and local government programs placed 167,500 acres of farm, ranches, wildlife habitat and scenic areas out of reach of development, according to the Trust's report. The total acreage protected statewide to date stands at 1,950, 693 acres, 2.9 percent of the state's total land mass.

In 2005, Durango voters approved a half-cent sales tax increase with the stipulation that half of the increase was to be used for capital projects (such as the new library) and the other half be spent on open space, parks and trails. Durango's land preservation program contributes to making Colorado a national leader in land conservation.