Senior Programs will continue |

Senior Programs will continue

Heidi Rice
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GARFIELD COUNTY, Colorado ” Even though the county is taking over two of the three Senior Programs from Colorado Mountain College, there will be no changes.

If anything, the programs may be improved and enhanced, according to county officials.

Garfield County Commissioners in March unanimously agreed to take on The Traveler transportation program and the Senior Meals nutrition program.

CMC has agreed to keep the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.

The change will take effect on July 1.

CMC announced in May 2007 that, after 30 years, it wanted to unload the three programs, causing fear among valley seniors that the much-needed services would go away. A task force that included county and local municipal officials was set up to study the issue shortly after CMC’s announcement. Commissioners officially agreed to take on the two programs at their meeting on March 10.

The county estimates it will cost around $300,000 per year to administer the programs to start, but that cost could go up in the future as the programs grow, according to County Administrator Ed Green. The county has developed a business plan and is hoping to share in the costs with other municipalities throughout the county from Parachute to Carbondale who utilize the Senior Programs.

“We’ve gotten feedback from most of the communities who said that would be acceptable, except we haven’t heard from Glenwood Springs,” Green said.

Area communities are reviewing the business plan and looking at signing an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the county. Glenwood Springs is planning to hold a meeting with the other municipalities at the end of the month, Green said.

“We’re working on an IGA with all the communities and our goal is to have everyone at the table,” said Commissioner Tresi Houpt. “The county is covering the bulk of the project, but the communities need to contribute, too. Right now we want to make a seamless transition. Our goal is to make sure we keep these programs intact.”

The county is also in the process of hiring a manager for the Senior Programs it will oversee.

The nutrition program meals will still be prepared at the Rifle Senior Center and Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs. The county will contract will the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority to provide transportation for The Traveler.

CMC will continue to run RSVP under the direction of Cheryl Cain.

The bottom line is that seniors should not be worried about any changes to their programs or their schedules.

“The programs will remain the same,” said Commissioner John Martin. “We want them to prosper and we might see better services, but no less than what they have now.”

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