Garfield County’s discretionary grant funds limited |

Garfield County’s discretionary grant funds limited

Garfield county human services grants for 2015

Advocate Safehouse — $30,500

Alpine Legal Services — $20,600

Aspen Hope Center — $1,000

CASA of the Ninth — $1,500

Catholic Charities — $19,000

CMC Go 2 Work — $4,000

Columbine Home Health — $23,500

Early Childhood Network — $12,500

Family Visitor Programs — $34,000

Feed My Sheep — $25,000

High Country RSVP — $7,000

Hospice of the Valley — $10,000

LIFT-UP — $28,000

Literacy Outreach — $20,000

The Manaus Fund — $1,000

Mind Springs Counseling — $35,000

Mind Springs Substance Abuse — $28,000

Mountain Valley Developmental Services — $40,000

Planned Parenthood — $2,000

Reach Out and Read Colorado — $1,500

River Bridge Regional Center — $9,000

River Center New Castle — $5,000

RF Family Resource Center — $5,000

Raising a Reader — $2,000

Salvation Army — $9,900

Sopris Therapy Services — $10,000

Yampah Teen Parent Program — $7,500

YouthZone — $40,000

TOTAL: $432,500

Any Garfield County organizations that haven’t already been funded through the county’s annual human services grants, but that might want to seek money this year, should consider putting their proposal together soon — and limit requests to $10,000 or less.

Due to continued sales tax withholding from the state of Colorado related to a court settlement involving taxes paid by energy companies on hydraulic fracturing materials, the county for a third straight year had to supplement human service agency grants with some of its discretionary general fund money.

The tax withholding, which has amounted to about $5.7 million over the past five years, has impacted several sales tax-funded operations in the county, including the public library district and the county’s emergency 911 communications authority.

Nonprofit human service agencies also receive a portion of the county’s 1-cent sales tax revenues through yearly grants. In an effort to maintain those grants at about the same level, though, county commissioners have had to dip into their discretionary funds.

A total of $432,500 in human service grants were awarded as part of the 2015 Garfield County budget, nearly $68,000 of which came out of the commissioners’ discretionary grant fund.

A total of $432,500 in human service grants were awarded as part of the 2015 Garfield County budget, nearly $68,000 of which came out of the commissioners’ discretionary grant fund.

That left about $182,000 for the commissioners to dole out over the course of the coming year to various other organizations and programs that come asking the county for money.

Already, it’s led to some philosophical debate among the commissioners around the handful of requests that came before the board Monday during its first meeting of the new year.

Commissioners agreed to fund three separate requests, including:

• $5,000 to assist the Lower Valley Trails group with its efforts to help plan and obtain grant funding for a variety of community trail projects in Glenwood Springs, New Castle, Silt, Rifle and Parachute.

• $10,000 for the Aspen-based Huts for Vets program, providing outdoor-oriented group therapy and counseling for post-911 combat veterans through specially organized trips using the 10th Mountain Hut System.

• $15,000 for Carbondale-based YouthEntity/Computers for Kids to assist with its financial literacy, technology and career-training programs for youth in Garfield, Pitkin and Eagle counties.

The latter grant exceeded the commissioners’ loose policy of capping grants at $10,000 each. Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said he would like to keep the discretionary grants as flexible as possible, and award programs that do the most good for Garfield County.

For that reason, Jankovsky voted against funding for the trails group and Huts for Vets, but supported the larger grant for YouthEntity.

“The number of young people that they touch, and the service they are providing to our community is exceptional,” Jankovsky said. “It’s a different approach that helps young people who otherwise don’t know their path.”

That’s not to discount the work of programs like Huts for Vets, which provides a valuable service, he said.

“But I have a problem funding something that’s not a Garfield County program,” he said.

With a limited amount of money available, Commissioner Mike Samson added that it’s important to give extra-careful thought to grant requests and stick to the $10,000 cap.

“My wish is that we could help, to a degree, several different worthy organizations over the course of the year,” Samson said. “It we limit it to $10,000, we could help quite a few.”

The county also hopes to be able to increase the amount of money available for discretionary grants in future years once the state’s sales tax withholding, which is used to pay refunds related to the 2010 court ruling in favor of Noble Energy, comes to an end.

Colorado Department of Revenue officials advised last year that the number of claims from other energy companies related to the ruling should start to decline this year.

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