Moffat County, foundation reach agreement

Organization to make payments on gunfighter collection at museum

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In time, Moffat County will be reimbursed for the money it fronted for "The Cowboy and Gunfighter Collection" at the Museum of Northwest Colorado four years ago.

It might take awhile, maybe years, but, according to a new contract agreed to by both the county and Community Foundation of Northwest Colorado this week, the money will be repaid.

"This allows us to make a partial payment now," said John Husband, president of the foundation board. "We will then pass funding onto them as it comes to us through deferred giving."

In 1999, the Moffat County commissioners agreed to pay the foundation $710,000 for the gunfighter collection, displayed on the second floor of the museum in Craig.

The original agreement said that the foundation was to pay that money back in annual payments of $54,918.

The foundation has more than a $1 million in pledges for the collection but $915,000 are deferred pledges, meaning the money isn't donated until after the person pledging the money dies.

Because there is no way of knowing when those funds will be available, the old agreement has been scratched and the foundation will pass money on as it comes in.

"The foundation was able to make the initial payments but without deferred gifts coming in, we don't have it to pass on now," Husband said. "But we still have the obligation to pay the money back."

Right now, the foundation has $32,474 in its gunfighter account. That total will be paid to the county now that the new agreement has been signed.

With that payment, the foundation still owes $407,154.

Moffat County Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos said she is confident with the new deal that has been reached with the foundation.

"I think we're comfortable with the agreement," Raftopoulos said. "The community foundation is trying to go forward in a positive direction. We think they are some good people that want to do some good things in the community."

In the Monday county commission meeting, when the new agreement was signed, Raftopoulos said if she could go back to when the county first agreed to front the money, she said she might reconsider making the loan.

"I think we made that decision in good faith," Raftopoulos said. "I would not have made the commitment to do that if we had known the funds had not been raised."

But Pam Foster, who was foundation president when the deal was made with the county four years ago, said the money was raised.

"From the beginning we always addressed the different types of giving," she said in reference to the large amount of differed gift pledges. "We told them (commissioners) what they were from the get go."

Documents from the treasurers office show that the county's balance has dipped slightly each of the past four years and Raftopoulos said one factor in that was the donation made to the gunfighter collection.

"We're going to get some funding in the long run," she said. "But it affects our bottom line right now."

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or jnichols@craigdailypress.com.

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