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Cortez City Council donates $30,000 to local organizations

Many businesses put together festive floats for the Four Corners Board of Realtors Parade of Lights in Cortez. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)
Eleven groups awarded 2023 grants for community causes

The Cortez City Council was in the giving holiday spirit for its last meeting of the year.

The council approved $29,380 in 2023 grant funding to 10 community organizations and made a donation to the annual Christmas dinner.

Recipients of financial support includes Amani Youth Partnership, $2,500; Cancer Resource Alliance of Mtz-Dol Counties, $4,000; Community Connections, $4,000; Dolores Watershed Resilient Forest Collaborative, $4,000; Four Corners Child Advocacy, $5,000; Four Corners Community Band, $1,000; Hospice of Montezuma Inc., $3,000; Montezuma County Public Health Department, $1,380; Cortez Indigenous Wellbriety Program, $2,500; and Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center, $2,000.

All organizations that applied received grant funding, and the amount awarded came in at $8,000 below the budgeted amount.

In a separate motion, the board also agreed to donate $1,000 toward Hope’s Kitchen Christmas Dinner, which will take place Dec. 25 at the Montezuma County Annex in a to-go meal and delivery format. The event is expecting to serve a traditional holiday meal for 400 people.

“This event truly serves the entire community of Cortez and allows us to be sure no one goes hungry on Christmas Day,” said event coordinator the Rev. Jean Schwien.

This year, the city started a new community grant application and award process. A Grant Selection Committee was formed with city staff and council members Dennis Spruell and Matt Keefauver.

The committee reviews each grant application based on eligibility criteria. The staff then recommends awards to the full council, which vote on it. Later in the year, grantees are required to make presentations to the council on how they spent the money.

Previously, the grant award process was done by applicants presenting in person at a City Council meeting. The process was rushed and very time consuming for a single council meeting, said City Manager Drew Sanders, and prevented a more thorough review of individual applications.

“The new system worked far better, and it appears that a much more orderly and comprehensive outcome was achieved than we experienced in previous processes,” Sanders said. “This is a model for us to follow in future years.”

Other decisions at the meeting

The council appointed Councilor Robert Dobry and Arlina Yazzie to sit on a selection committee with town staff to review applicants from a request for proposal process to update the Cortez land use code. The committee will research and interview planning contractors, who apply and make recommendations to the full council, which will make the final decision. The successful planning contractor will work with the city and public next year on updating the outdated plan.

Cortez Mayor Rachel Medina presents Terry McCabe with a gift as part of a Proclamation of Gratitude and Appreciation for McCabe's leadership in the Four Corners Board of Realtors Parade of Lights. (Courtesy photo)

The council presented a Proclamation of Gratitude and Appreciation to Terry McCabe for her commitment to leading the volunteer effort that puts on the Four Corners Board of Realtors Christmas Parade of Lights each year in Cortez. The annual parade has been going on for 33 years. In 1989, it started with eight floats, and in 2022 there were 70 floats.

McCabe has been the lead organizer for the past 15 years.

“Her energy, passion and holiday spirit has been vital to keeping the community holiday tradition going,” said Cortez Mayor Rachel Medina. “It’s a great family event and adds color to our community.”

McCabe said she was “honored and appreciated” by the recognition and gift of flowers. She added the event would not be possible without the support of the Realtor board, volunteers and city departments.