County to revamp budgets to reflect grant money
Budgets in Moffat County departments rely on grant money to stretch services.
According to the county’s Director of Natural Resources, the department has secured $368,000 in grants since the program began in 2001.
Grant dollars are added into a budget’s expenditures and are currently reflected in its bottom line. For example, the Natural Resources Department’s 2002 budget reflects a 60 percent increase in expenditures from 2001. But in 2002 the area took in roughly $161,000 in grants to help fund projects, such as the Moffat County Fire and Fuel Management Plan. Recently, the department secured a $40,5000 grant to implement the plan.
“Some of our departments bring in serious money for specific projects,” said Jeff Comstock, the director of Natural Resources Department. “Those of us who have taken in grant dollars take the initiative to do more with less.”
In the future, the county budget will be designed to differentiate between expenditures of grant dollars and regular expenditures, said Administrative Assistant Tinneal Gerber.
“There should be a better picture of the bottom line,” she said of future budgets. “Last year, we didn’t get (the grants) labeled as accurately as we wanted to.”
At the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Office, grant dollars help out with extracurricular programs. Family and Consumer Science Agent, Elisa Shackelton said grants “help the community by stretching dollars that couldn’t stretch before.”
An after school program wouldn’t be possible without the four-year $221,000 grant. Another three-year $20,000 to $40,000 grant funds activities for local residents to help them get healthy. Some of the benefits of that grant include, offering residents step counters and healthy diet options.
“The trick is to make sure it lasts,” Shackelton said of the grant dollars.
The one drawback of accepting some grant money is making sure to find the funding when the grant expires.
“It’s a little bit of a danger,” she said. “You have to make sure there’ s a need in the community for what you start.”
Other county departments receive money from Energy Impact grants. Accounting pulled in $65,000 last year for a project with a total cost of $130,000. In capital projects, the county took in $410,000 last year.
Those numbers should be better reflected in the future, said county Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos.
“We’re going to do a better job of stating how much revenue we get from bringing in grants,” she said. “The problem is when have grants come in after budget season, we have to make sure we go back and do a supplemental. It’s confusing, no doubt.”
Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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