Caught in foul mood, county commissioners cool to detox funding plan
The Garfield County commissioners were not in the right frame of mind to support a cost-sharing plan for the Glenwood Springs Detox center Monday.
They’d just considered a proposal from the Glenwood Springs Downtown Development Authority to collect the county’s share of property tax revenue on new construction within DDA boundaries.
The authority has a legal right to do so, over and above the county’s objections. That did not sit well with the commissioners.
Nor did their next item of business Monday, which was a letter from Colorado West Regional Mental Health laying out a plan to collect money from local governments that use Detox services.
“We need to get all the players at the table” before contributing more money, said Commissioner Walt Stowe. He also suggested the county develop a formal agreement with Colorado West regarding the new cost-sharing plan.
Colorado West, a private, nonprofit company that operates the Detox center at 711 Grand Ave. in Glenwood Springs, appealed to local governments for funding late last year to help it stay in business.
From July to December it operated at a $55,000 deficit, said Colorado West assistant executive director Michael Lucid.
Over the last five months, Lucid has met with local governments and police chiefs to come up with a plan to distribute operating costs based on the numbers of patients admitted who live within a specific jurisdiction.
“The agreement is if they all pay their fair share, we’ll continue this process,” Lucid said.
Monday the commissioners received a spreadsheet showing how Colorado West allocated its deficit to area governments, Lucid said.
He expressed surprise at the county commissioners’ reaction to the spreadsheet.
“We gave them a credit. They don’t owe us anything,” he said.
In the future, invoices will be sent to municipalities and counties from Rangely to Avon and Glenwood Springs to Aspen for their share of Colorado West’s operating costs, Lucid said.
Garfield County gives $25,000 annually to Colorado West, and this year gave an additional $8,000 after Lucid appealed for support in November.
Most of the municipalities and counties Lucid contacted have promised to pay their fair share, he said, including Aspen, Avon, Parachute, Steamboat Springs, Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Eagle County, Vail, Snowmass Village, New Castle and Silt. Meeker and Rifle are still considering the matter, he said.
According to the cost-sharing plan, Garfield County would continue to contribute $25,000 yearly.
“We’re committed to finding other funding,” Lucid added.
Among the alternatives would be collecting a percentage of fees charged by the courts on drug- and alcohol-related offenses. Such a program funded Aspen’s Tipsy Taxi, which took folks home from bars or parties for free, Lucid said.
He will also approach the Colorado State Patrol to pay a share, since its troopers bring in patients to Detox on a regular basis, he said.
So far, Lucid said he’s pleased with the response he’s had from area municipalities and counties.
“I’m encouraged. We’ll keep working on it,” he said.
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