Garfield County commissioners fund project in Custer County
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
The Garfield County commissioners took the unusual step this week of spending more than $14,600 to help another county take care of a building project.
The decision was not without some dissension among the Board of County Commissioners, however, and passed by a vote of 2-1, with Commissioner Tresi Houpt voting “no.”
The issue arose when Commissioner John Martin got a letter from Custer County Commissioner Carole Custer, asking whether Garfield County could spare some cash to help build an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant project at the entrance to Custer County’s Hanssen Haus Resource Center, which provides assistance for low-income families and others in need.
Custer County is a sparsely populated region east of the Sangre De Cristo mountains and west of Pueblo County, with approximately “3,700 people and bunches of critters,” according to its official website.
The Custer County commissioners applied for grants to help with the project, which originally was estimated at $20,400, but the application was not successful.
Commissioner Carole Custer wrote in her letter to Commissioner Martin that she paid, out of her own pocket, for the purchase and installation of 14 window quilts to help reduce heat loss from the building, which was built in the 1880s.
Martin urged his fellow commissioners to agree to the grant to Custer County, saying, “It’s still serving the people of Colorado” and that “it’s helping another county to survive these hard times.”
Commissioner, Tresi Houpt, agreeing that the “counties helping counties” principle is a worthy one, suggested it might be appropriate for Garfield County to help with the installation of two “stair chairs” to assist the elderly in getting into the building. It could then be left to other counties around the state to chip in on the remainder of the project, $11,700 to build concrete ramps, she said.
Noting that Custer County had been trying for “a long time” to get this project done, Martin indicated that it would be good for the county’s “karma” to help.
Commissioner Mike Samson noted that Garfield County is “doing well” financially, to which Houpt responded that a big reason for that is the county’s typically conservative fiscal attitude. She suggested the board “split the match” and provide half of the needed money.
But Martin and Samson prevailed and voted to provide the entire $14,650 to Custer County.
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