Glenwood City Council OKs more discretionary grants |

Glenwood City Council OKs more discretionary grants

John Gardner
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” City Council approved another round of discretionary grants totaling $67,500 last week. That leaves $29,965 to be disbursed of the total available 2009 Discretionary Grant budget of $157,965.

While the Financial Advisory Board’s recommendations were approved, some council members expressed concern with exactly where funds were going this year in times of economic difficulty.

New Councilman Leo McKinney was the only member of the board to vote against the recommendations, saying that he didn’t feel that tax exempt charities should receive such high funds through this program.

“I felt that two of the grants were a bit excessive,” he said. “Especially given that they were going to tax exempt organizations, and these are tax dollars.”

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Those two nonprofits are the Glenwood-based Catholic Charities, which received $10,000, and Feed My Sheep Ministry, which received $9,000. The only applicant this round to receive more funding was Garfield County Senior Programs, which received $15,000.

Glenwood Mayor Bruce Christensen told members of City Council that he was aware of some of their concerns, as well as concerns of community members, regarding the fairly large awards to certain area organizations, one in particular that helps the homeless population in Glenwood Springs.

Christensen said that the FAB committee felt that they were recommending full funding, or a larger amount of funding for those programs, in recognition of the organizations’ desire to be a part of a team to try and solve the homeless issues around town. He added that the recommendation was a “show of faith” from the community that there would be some performance requirements prior to next year’s grants.

“The committee has spent a great deal of time going through the applications and is generally extremely conscientious about that,” Christensen said.

Both Shelley Kaup and Matthew Steckler agreed that the organizations should be held accountable for what the funds are paying for.

“I think we need to take a hard look at what the results of this grant will be over the year and see if this is something that the City Council can support going forward,” Steckler said. “I see that everything else on the list strongly supports members of our community. Feed My Sheep seems to support folks that are not full-time members of the community and maybe promotes a lifestyle that we don’t want to promote here on City Council.”

While some organizations receive what some called excessive amounts of funds, others weren’t so lucky.

The Symphony in the Valley requested $2,500, which the FAB was considering denying, because it had already received some funds through the Tourism Grants. The Aspen Choral Society requested $2,000, and were also considered for denial from the FAB because the organization was not considered local enough in tough times.

But Councilor Bershenyi did not agree with that assessment, saying that many of the members involved with the program lived in Glenwood Springs. He said that he would like to see the council recommend or encourage the FAB to reconsider the two grant requests rather than deny them altogether.

“While we feed our sheep, we also need to feed our souls,” Bershenyi said.

“These organizations bring real cultural value to this community,” he added. “So, I think we really need to try and balance that side of the ledger a little more.”

The FAB will reconsider the grant requests at its next meeting.

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114

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