Ways to better inform your employees


By Mary Jo Coulehan | Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce

A lot of times, people read this Chamber article to find out what is happening in our community. Are you one of those business owners? 

I might venture to say no because you are so busy working in your business on a daily basis. However, how many times do employees come to you as the trusted employer to help them with a problem, or they need a service? Can you share our community’s resources with them? Do you even know who you can refer them to? 

I would encourage you to find a method of trying to find out as much as possible about how you can help your employees. We try to help keep you as a business owner and the community informed. Oftentimes, you will need to know about events so you can schedule or plan for an uptick in business. However, we also use this outlet to communicate with you important guidelines and programs that you should become familiar with in order to better help your staff members. 

Housing programs

With that thought in mind, here are a couple of programs where you can be better informed and pass this information onto staff. We start out with an important program expansion offered by Housing Solutions of the Southwest. It has expanded its rehabilitation loan program offering incredible interest rates to those homeowners looking to improve their homes. 

Housing Solutions can offer 1-2 percent loans to an increased area median income (AMI) sector of the population. Whereas the program only served those making at or below 80 percent of the AMI, the program now covers up to 120 percent AMI. This is a big win for homeowners as many made just a skosh too much to qualify for an important program such as this. Essential repairs are included in this need so that families can get a new heating source or water heater or energy improvements such as siding or insulation to increase the value of their home while decreasing their energy costs and allowing them to stay in their homes safely. 

If you or any staff or neighbors are looking for a program such as this, refer them to Housing Solutions of the Southwest at (970) 259-1086 to start the qualifying process. 

And, speaking of housing, if you have any staff looking to purchase a home, one of the smartest things you can recommend they do is attend a HomesFund Homebuyer Education Class. The next class will be held on Saturday, May 20, from 8:30 to 4:30 at the Ross Aragon Community Center. People attending this class will have mortgage assistance programs open up for them that they may not have had access to, including a program offering up to $125,000 or 25 percent of the purchase price. Having this class under your belt helps new homeowners regardless if they work with HomesFund or not. To register for the class, go online to www.homesfund.org/attend-a-class or call (970) 259-1418. 

Let’s help those looking to invest in a home in our community. 

Division of Motor Vehicles

The Division of Motor Vehicles licensing process will be back May 22 and 23 by appointment. The services offered include new licenses, renewals, permits, out-of-state license transfers, IDs, motor vehicle records and much more. 

You can make an appointment by going online to www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f4da4a82da0f5c16-archuleta1#/ or call the county admin offices at (970) 264-8300. 

Remember that these services do not include driving or CDL tests. These tests need to be completed through other agencies. However, you can avoid the drive to Durango by making an appointment. The temporary office is located in the county building on San Juan Street, on the south side of the building and by entering through the door at the far right. If you have questions, please contact the county offices. 

Rural Philanthropy Days

For our nonprofit agencies, we have been talking about Rural Philanthropy Days and the event that will be occurring June 7-9 in Durango. As a reminder, the Chamber, Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation and the Community Resource Center (CRC) will be hosting training on May 25. We will have the CRC Zoom presentation online at the library starting at 1 p.m. and then be available afterward for questions and answers from our nonprofits. 

In addition to this training, Ron Beckman, Pagosa Fire Protection District (PFPD) board director and grant writer, will be presenting a grant writing class for free to our nonprofit agencies. The training will take place at the PFPD offices at 191 N. Pagosa Blvd. on Thursday, May 18, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. He will be covering tips for grant writing, where to look for grants, who can get grants and how to help “fill in the banks.” If your nonprofit is interested in sending someone to this class, preregister with Tomi Bliss at (970) 731-4191 as the class size is limited. 

Colorado Secure
Savings program

The June deadline for the Colorado Secure Savings program for employers is quickly approaching. All businesses with five to 14 W2 employees are required to register with the state for this program by the end of June. Employers with 15-49 employees, the registration deadline is right around the corner on May 15. 

Employers are to offer employees this program or another program such as a traditional pension, a 401(k) plan, a Simple IRA plan, a 403(b) plan or SEP Plan. Employees can opt out of the program and not participate; however, businesses must register with the state. You should have received or should receive soon through regular mail or email an access code with which to use when you register. 

If you would like to refresh your memory and find out what you need to do as an employer before the June deadline, visit https://coloradosecuresavings.com/. It is important that you know what changes are coming up for you and your employees. 

As mentioned, become informed and garner important information for your employees to help them in their efforts to live in Pagosa Springs and take advantage of the services the community offers. As always, contact us should you need immediate assistance or direction to help you or your staff.