Garfield County discretionary grant money runs out |

Garfield County discretionary grant money runs out

For the first time in at least the last 20 years, Garfield County commissioners’ discretionary fund, which allows commissioners to distribute money to nonprofits and other organizations, hit zero.

Commissioners on Monday awarded the remaining money in the fund for the year.

County staff will now inform those looking to apply that no money is left for grants, and commissioners are recommending that requesters next year be aware that they will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Years ago the county could budget $1 million for discretionary spending, but it’s pared that back gradually, said Commissioner Mike Samson. This year the commissioners budgeted $94,000 for miscellaneous grants.

And the amounts that commissioners give away has decreased as well. At one time the Board of County Commissioners would give $25,000 and $50,000 from the discretionary fund, said Samson.

This year applicants were capped at a maximum of $5,000 each.

During Monday’s meeting the commissioners came up a little short for three requests but worked around that shortfall by dedicating a $2,000 request from the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado as a grant to another government, which falls under a different pool of money.

Commissioners have given 22 grants from the discretionary fund this year. Most of them were for the maximum allowed but a handful were for lesser amounts.

This year these have been to organizations like Garfield County 4-H, Advocate Safehouse Project, Symphony in the Valley, Garfield County Libraries Foundation, Colorado Creative Industries Summit and the Lower Valley Trails Group, among several others.

Commissioners momentarily considered changing their method of receiving applications. Rather than the free-for-all scramble to get applications in first, the commissioners could set a deadline for all applications and then pick from a stack of applications, said Samson.

But the board opted instead to continue considering applications on a first-come, first-served basis.

The county also is entering budget season and facing a projected $13 million revenue decline in 2017 tied to oil and gas development.

Nevertheless, Commissioner Tom Jankovsky anticipates that the board will have the same amount of money to dedicate to discretionary spending in 2017.

The board still has to go through the budget process, but this is an important granting program that supports many organizations that cannot get other kinds of grants, such as the county’s human services grants or though LiveWell Garfield County, Jankovsky said after Monday’s meeting.

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