County overhauls reimbursements
Next year’s Moffat County Emergency Management Department budget will include some changes to clarify the use of emergency management reimbursements from the state.
The change in budgeting is coming after the county investigated concerns that emergency management reimbursements were being spent improperly by the Sheriff’s Office.
An ensuing investigation did not reveal any funding misappropriations. Moffat County financial analyst Tinneal Gerber plans to draft a report next week regarding the investigation results and the changes in next year’s budget.
“Our only direction was we wanted to make sure this area was spent correctly and properly,” Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos said.
Concerns about the use of emergency management reimbursements arose when the Sheriff’s Office supplemented reimbursement funds into a line item that paid part-time help, including Sheriff Buddy Grinstead’s son, who was hired to mow the grass.
Undersheriff Jerry Hoberg said the funds were intended to pay a Sheriff’s Office employee who assisted with administrative duties for the Emergency Management Department.
To avoid such confusion in the future, separate line items will be created to pay for part-time help and other expenses in the Emergency Management Department.
Expenses that previously were paid through the Sheriff’s Office but will now have independent line items in the Emergency Management budget include fuel, office supplies and even office space.
Colorado counties spend their own funds on emergency management expenses, and the state reimburses the expenses. The reimbursements are supposed to be placed in the budget line item that originally funded the expense.
The reimbursement concerns have also caused the commissioners to channel all grant funds through Gerber’s office. The commissioners wanted to make certain all grants were being spent on their intended purposes.
The change in budgeting isn’t the only change the Emergency Management Department could see.
Raftopoulos has questioned whether the emergency management department should be moved directly under the supervision of the commissioners. Currently, the emergency management coordinator is an employee of the sheriff.
“The problem is we don’t have direct oversight … and the coordination and collaboration isn’t there,” Raftopoulos said.
Raftopoulos made those comments in September, but no action to move the department has yet been made. She has advised the next commissioner board to consider moving the department.
Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or email@example.com.
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Next week, Colorado Northwestern Community College and Moffat County are hosting a free day-long seminar for local ranchers and agriculture producers.