Donations could save Clubhouse

Council considers contribution to keep Shadow Mountain open

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Agreeing to contribute $5,000 toward keeping Shadow Mountain Clubhouse open wasn't a decision Craig City Council members were ready to make at their Tuesday night meeting, but the consensus was favorable -- if certain conditions are met.

Moffat County Commissioner Darryl Steele, in a last-ditch effort to keep the Clubhouse open amid county budget cuts, has requested that the most frequent users of the facility contribute to the costs of keeping it open.

He's hoping to raise $20,000 of the $27,000 expense.

Preliminary contributions total $15,000 with $5,000 coming from two area physical therapy offices, $5,000 from Colorado Northwest Community College-Craig and $5,000 from the Moffat County School District.

Though they agreed the facility -- which boasts a large meeting/reception room, pool, hot tub and sauna -- is an indispensable amenity, councilors were leery of the request.

"My main concern is, is this the beginning of the snowball? And, where does the snowball end?" Councilor Don Jones said. "Giving money to Shadow Mountain is probably one of the best places we can invest because everyone in the community uses it. It would probably be a good investment, but ... "

Moffat County Commissioners have previously discussed asking the city for a reduction in water rates at the cemetery and for help in funding county-provided television service. As the county continues its struggle to reduce 2004 spending by more than $1 million, city officials expect commissioners to request funding to subsidize the Craig-Moffat County Airport, the library and perhaps even the landfill.

"They're just going to keep coming," Councilor Joe Herod said.

His argument was seconded by several other council members, who said protecting the city's no-growth, but solvent budget was the No. 1 priority.

"We don't want to end up in the same boat (as the county)," Councilor Kent Nielson said.

The city's 2004 budget is already set and the request was not anticipated. Should the council decide to offer funding, it would come from the council's $25,000 discretionary fund.

"I made it clear that we're not going to anchor ourselves to them and sink our own budget to save theirs," Mayor Dave DeRose said.

DeRose also pointed out that the city takes in $2,000 to $3,000 a year in water, sewer and trash collection fees from Shadow Mountain Clubhouse, revenue that would be lost if the facility were closed.

Commissioners expect to have to close the clubhouse in March, a deadline that won't change unless money to offset the costs of running the facility is raised.

City Council members tabled a decision until the county had a commitment for the remaining funds from other contributors.

"I think we're all in agreement that we can play if everyone else plays," Jones said.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, Ext. 210 or by e-mail at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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