Craig City Council approves funding for Open Heart Advocates
Decision pushes non-profit one step closer to remaining open through 2020
Craig City Council members unanimously approved emergency funding for Open Heart Advocates Tuesday night during the council’s by-weekly meeting.
Council members adopted Resolution No. 5 (2020), agreeing to giving Open Heart Advocates $6,200 a month, starting May 1, joining Moffat County Commissioners in keeping an essential service open and functioning within the county.
Memorial Regional Health Chief Executive Officer Andy Daniels had previously asked the city and the county for $6,250 a month in funding through the rest of 2020 to keep the agency — which serves more than 21 percent of the community in Moffat County and the City of Craig — afloat until a potential grant of $435,000 would kick in Jan. 1, 2021, should OHA be awarded that large grant.
While asking for funding and waiting for answers, MRH’s Board of Trustees voted to close the doors of OHA on April 25.
Fortunately for the local victims advocacy and victims services organization now has the requested funding to continue to operate locally.
According to City Manager Peter Brixius, the funds of $6,200 a month – or $49,600 for the rest of the year – could come from the Solar Project budget, which was set at $267,000, of which the city is using just $95,450.
Councilwoman Andrea Camp appreciated that the funding was presented in a resolution format, giving council a way to present the unique situation to the public.
“I just really appreciate that we put this in a resolution format, simply for the public,” Councilwoman Camp said. “…I know that it was a concern of council’s that if started this then it would open up and we’d be flooded with these same types of requests.
“I feel like this is a unique situation though,” Councilwoman Camp added. “And I like that it’s spelled out in the resolution why we ended up where we are and makes it easier for the public to understand.”
Councilman Chris Nichols added that he hopes the show of support from the city and county shows those at the state level awarding funding that OHA is moving in the right direction locally, has local support and deserves to receive grant funding.
“…This is a vital service, and this group is doing a great job and we support it,” Councilman Nichols said. “But we can’t afford to support it forever though, so hopefully this helps them get some grants and secures future funding for itself.”
Open Heart Advocates Executive Director Meghan Francone phoned in to the meeting virtually, thanking council members for the support and the decision to provide funding through 2020.
“I just wanted to say thank you so much for the support; we’re very grateful, not only as OHA team members, but our victims” Francone said. “This has been a very hot topic; we are still currently helping victims, so they will be thrilled hearing this.”
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As Moffat County enters the final days before Nov. 2, there’s still time to cast ballots for local elections like school board and city council, county ballot measures and statewide initiatives.