Officials question city contributions

County official says city contributes very little to 'quality of life' compared to county

Craig's responsibility to fund "quality of life" projects and trouble among Moffat County officials were two hot topics during a contentious discussion between Moffat County Commissioners and county elected officials on Tuesday.

The discussion began with Suzanne Brinks, Moffat County Assessor, asking the board if the city had thought of funding "quality of life" projects," such as the library and the cemetery.

"Maybe it's time they jumped back on the bandwagon and started funding programs the county has been running for 20 years," Brinks said.

Commissioner Les Hampton said he had done a study of "quality of life" projects funded by Moffat County and Craig. Hampton identified about 20 projects that the county funds at a cost in excess of $6 million. He said he believes the city contributed to four or five projects at a cost of $75,000.

In the mid-1980s, the county helped Craig when the city council was struggling financially, Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos said.

"Two times the county gave the city cash assistance," Raftopoulos said.

Hampton expressed disappointment that there has been no cooperation between the city and county governments.

But Commissioner Darryl Steele squashed the conversation.

"This is a conversation that needs to take place when the city is here, because when the city discussed things without the county, it made us look like the bad guy in the newspaper," Steele said.

The commissioners informally decided to set up a meeting with the city to discuss these issues, perhaps after the first of the year.

Raftopoulos and Hampton both encouraged county officials to be cooperative with one another. Hampton said a lot of contention has appeared in the newspaper of late as department officials argue over what should be cut and what should not be cut.

Sheriff Buddy Grinstead and County Clerk Elaine Sullivan have both voiced fears that they will not be able to run their state mandated services if the commissioners cut personnel. Steele has said that he only wanted to know if they could run their offices with a personnel cut, but did not mean that their personnel actually would be cut.

But Hampton said he'd like to see more cooperation between offices.

"We have to be careful about what we're doing and how we're doing it," Hampton said. "Something I say may get out of this room. If I write a letter it can certainly get out of the room.

"We have to be courteous and have conversations with one another and keep this out of the media."

He specifically complained of an online index with connections to letters written by Moffat County officials, Craig Daily Press articles, and other documents.

The index has been developed by former Moffat County resident Jeff Taylor and others.

"Every transaction they have is subject to public review," Taylor said, defending the index.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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