Commissioners will cover $50K for animal shelter |

Commissioners will cover $50K for animal shelter

Maggie Niehoff and Jenna Mitchell hold two recently adopted Persian cats from the Colorado Animal Rescue shelter in Spring Valley.
Colleen O’Neil / Post Independent |

Garfield County commissioners have agreed to make up what was to be a $50,000 cut in funding for the Colorado Animal Rescue (CARE) shelter in Spring Valley.

Commissioners will dip into their discretionary grant funds intended for nonprofits and other community organizations to make up the difference.

As part of his 2016 budget proposal, Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario trimmed his budget for the county’s animal control program, including a $50,000 reduction in funding for shelter and veterinary services provided to the county by CARE.

At the same time, the Sheriff’s Office is signing on with the Rifle Animal Shelter for similar services on that end of the county for the same amount.

CARE board members and staff expressed concerns last week that the cut would leave them in a bind, especially as they are trying to hire a new executive director.

Commissioners, at a Tuesday budget work session, agreed to cover the difference out of their discretionary funds, but with the caveat that 2017 is no guarantee due to an expected decline in property tax revenues from oil and gas operations.

“We need to get everyone in the mindset that 2017 is going to be difficult,” Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said, suggesting that CARE look at other fundraising options in the future.

“We still have a strong revenue budget in front of us for 2016, but when we get to ’17 these decisions are going to be tough,” he said.

In addition to the CARE grant, the commissioners also agreed to increase its nonprofit grants budget to include another $50,000 for education-related programs.

In doing so, the commissioners reduced their budget for miscellaneous grant requests that come in during the course of the year from $250,000 to $150,000.

Commissioner Mike Samson said he believes those types of grants should be limited to no more than $5,000 each.

“I think we need to draw the line on these $10,000 and $15,000 grants,” Samson said, adding those grants should be considered elsewhere in the budget, including the county human services grant fund.

Garfield County will maintain a $432,500 budget for human service-related grants for 2016. Most of the funding for human service grants comes from a dedicated portion of the county’s 1 percent sales tax.

Specific grant recommendations from the Garfield Human Services Commission are scheduled to be considered by county commissioners at their regular Nov. 2 meeting.

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