GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Garfield County commissioners are prepared to reinstate some funding for the local Planned Parenthood clinic as part of the county’s human services grant allocations for next year.
However, the $2,700 grant comes with a stipulation that the money not be used for abortion services.
“We did have some concerns in the past about that,” County Commissioner Mike Samson acknowledged Monday as the commissioners gave the tentative nod to a total of $444,600 in grants to 31 different human service agencies for 2014.
In adopting the 2013 budget last year, the commissioners ended what had been a yearly grant to the local Planned Parenthood clinic, including $5,000 each in 2010, 2011 and 2012, partly over constituent concerns about the clinic offering abortion services.
“I think we can work that out, and make sure that the county money is not used for abortions,” Samson said. “I have no problem giving them a grant for general women’s health services.”
Cathy Alderman, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood in the region, welcomed the renewed county grant funding, and said it will help to provide preventive health services not just to women, but men and teens as well.
“We are so pleased that the county commissioners decided to put women and preventive health services for all residents above politics,” she said. “We do work to ensure that any state or local public dollars that we receive not be used for abortion care services.”
In addition to reproductive health and family planning services, Planned Parenthood also provides cancer screenings and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases for low-income patients.
During the 2012-13 fiscal year ending in October, the Glenwood Springs clinic served 2,700 patients, 60 percent of whom fell below the 150 percent of poverty level, Alderman said.
The clinic performed 1,100 tests for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, administered more than 400 PAP tests for women as part of their annual exams, and administered 8,200 methods of contraception, she said.
Very few of the Garfield County human service grant requests will be awarded in full, especially since the county has experienced a decline in sales tax revenues, a portion of which go to the human services fund. The decline is a result of a series of state sales tax refunds associated with an oil and gas overpayment lawsuit.
The commissioners were able to maintain funding for some agencies at this year’s levels by taking $12,100 from the county’s general discretionary grant fund to put toward human services.
Among the larger grants to be awarded for 2014 will be $40,000 for YouthZone, which provides a range of services for at-risk youth in Garfield County; $40,000 for Mountain Valley Developmental Services for developmentally disabled adults; $30,500 for the Advocate Safehouse for victims of domestic abuse; $35,000 for Colorado West Counseling services; $28,000 for Colorado West Recovery services; and $34,000 for Family Visitor Programs.
The human services grants are to be included as part of the overall 2014 county budget approval, which is scheduled for the Dec. 9 county commissioners meeting in Silt.