Garfield Clean Energy finances fall, but group remains active
CARBONDALE — The Garfield Clean Energy Collaborative (GCEC), which helps area residents, businesses and governments to become more energy efficient and to change over to clean energy sources, will have considerably less money to spend in 2014 than it did in 2013.
But, according to one of the organization’s spokespersons, the organization will not be hurt by the financial drop-off, and its programs will continue.
“We were hoping to get a little bit more from each partner for the coming year,” said Heather McGregor, administrative manager for GCEC, noting that the anticipated total income for 2014 will be approximately $379,000, compared with last year’s income of $535,000, as local governments continue to suffer the effects of a recession that began in 2008.
The funds for GCEC come almost entirely from the 10 member entities in GCEC, which includes each of the six towns in Garfield County, as well as the county library district, the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority and Colorado Mountain College.
The major supporter of the GCEC, according to the organization’s final budget for 2014, will be Garfield County, with a contribution of $155,000. Last year, the county contributed $255,000.
Another of the group’s main fiscal supporters is the town of Carbondale, which last year kicked in a total of $100,000 — $25,000 for the base membership, and $75,000 for a specialized program of incentives and rebates for homeowners and business owners that installed energy-efficiency upgrades and renewable energy applications to their homes and businesses.
This year, McGregor said, GCEC is still waiting to see what Carbondale will contribute beyond the $25,000 membership, so the line item for Carbondale’s contribution is only a quarter what it was last year, according to the budget document sent by McGregor.
Rifle, too, cut its payment to GCEC, from $38,000 for 2013 to $30,150 for 2014.
New Castle, which last year gave GCEC $13,000 for its membership, this year agreed to increase its contribution to $15,500.
That addition of $2,500, McGregor said, was “great news, because I think we’re going to be able to do something targeted for businesses and residences in New Castle.”
Of the remaining municipal partners, Parachute, Glenwood Springs and the library district kept their contributions for 2014 the same as they were last year, while Silt, RFTA and CMC all raised their contributions by varying, if somewhat small amounts.
McGregor said the organization will be seeking income from other sources, such as energy companies and state agencies, to keep up its mission of helping boost the area’s clean energy usage.
“We believe strongly that Garfield County [the area, not the government] has to scale up our efforts for energy efficiency,” McGregor emphasized. “There’s a super-strong correlation between energy efficiency and economic strength. If you pay less for your utilities, on a monthly basis, you have more to spend in other areas.”
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Garfield County Public Health officials are again stepping up public outreach to encourage people to get the COVID-19 vaccination, as the vaccination rate levels off and cases of the highly contagious Delta variant increase.