Garfield County Sheriff to rework budget for CARE

Phillip YatesGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Colorado Animal Rescue didn’t get everything it wanted when the Garfield County commissioners approved the county’s 2008 budget earlier this week, a move that reduced the shelter’s contract with the county by $50,000.But because of a meeting with Sheriff Lou Vallario on Wednesday, shelter staff members are much more optimistic than they were when they learned of the cut.”We had a really positive conversation,” said Leslie Rockey, director of the shelter, about her and her staff’s meeting with Vallario on Wednesday. “It went really well. He is going to rework his budget to find more money for us. Ultimately, it has to go back to county commissioners to approve or deny.”Vallario said he looked at his budget and is looking to “filter” $30,000 back to the shelter, which requested another $75,000 to administer a spay and neuter program.”I don’t think that is unreasonable,” Vallario said.The shelter also requested another $20,000 for “added costs of doing business,” such as increases in fuel and business costs, Vallario said. Any more money directed toward the shelter will have to be approved by the county commissioners, but that probably won’t happen until after Jan. 1, Vallario said.Debate over cutting CARE’s contract caused an hour-long discussion at the Garfield County commissioners meeting Monday. During the meeting, commissioners approved the county’s 2008 budget, which calls for the animal shelter’s contract to be reduced to $150,000 next year from $200,000 this year. However, CARE officials asked for $275,000 in 2008. After the meeting, staff members at CARE and Vallario said they would meet with each other, with all expressing optimism that they would come to some agreement on the shelter’s funding. Vallario will report on his talks with the shelter during the commissioners’ meeting on Monday.Rockey said CARE’s meeting was also positive because she and Vallario concentrated on talking about long-term solutions for sheltering stray and vicious dogs. “We talked a lot about solutions to the problem,” Rockey said. “The animal problem is not going to go away. The county is growing and we encourage people to contact county commissioners and express their animal concerns. We need to look to a solution that is going to work for everyone.”Contact Phillip Yates: 384-9117pyates@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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