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Cortez council plans nonprofit grants for 2018

More than 20 local groups will get support

During a workshop on Tuesday, the Cortez City Council continued preliminary 2018 budget discussions by agreeing on which nonprofits to support next year.

The council members agreed to tentatively budget a total of $31,035 for grants to 23 local organizations, including the Cortez Cultural Center, the Good Samaritan Center, Renew Inc. crisis intervention and many others.

A few requests for funding were denied, and some organizations the city usually supports, like the Bridge Emergency Shelter, didn’t turn in requests on time.

The council will hold several more budget workshops before voting on the final 2018 budget in December.

Most of the individual grants the council suggested were for less than $5,000. Some of the largest grants would go to services for homeless or at-risk families, like the Good Samaritan Center food pantry and Renew Inc., which provides crisis intervention and counseling for victims of domestic abuse. Some council members suggested awarding more than $4,000 to the latter.

“So many families are broken up, and they need help, they need counseling,” Bob Archibeque said. “I don’t think your buck can be spent in a better place.”

The council also decided to award about $3,000 to the Cortez Cultural Center, as the city has in years past, and about $1,000 to KSJD Radio. Some organizations could get more money than usual, like Cortez’s Planned Parenthood offices, which Mayor Karen Sheek recommended the city support this year because the organization’s federal funding has been cut recently.

Council members quibbled with a few of the grant applications, like the Montezuma County Health Department, whose application asked for money to provide recreation center passes, along with funding for immunizations and other services. Council members suggested a donation to cover some of those services, but not the recreation center passes.

A few organizations that usually get grants from the city didn’t submit applications this year, like Grace’s Soup Kitchen, at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church. Sheek said the Bridge Emergency Shelter also failed to request funding before the deadline, but she believed that was caused by a “glitch” in communications.

Sheek asked if the council could make an exception and award a grant to the shelter even though the application didn’t go through. But council member Shawna McLaughlin said the city has always been strict about its deadlines, and pointed out the municipal government has already agreed to waive some of the shelter’s construction fees for its new building next year, at the expense of several thousand dollars.

“If we open it up because (the Bridge) missed the deadline, should we open it for everybody?” she said.

Several other council members agreed, although Archibeque suggested the city look for another way to support the Bridge later in the year.

City manager assistant Dawn McCabe-Lightenburger, who presented the funding requests at the workshop, reminded the board members that all budget amounts are still preliminary, and the amount of money the city has set aside for grants could change.

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