DOLA funding tightens in new fiscal year |

DOLA funding tightens in new fiscal year

Collin Smith

Any faith the Moffat County Commission had that grants from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs would continue to be available were diminished this week when DOLA released new application guidelines.

“We wondered if the money would go away,” Commissioner Tom Gray said. “I guess we kind of have our answer.”

According to a letter from DOLA to government officials, two factors caused grant funds to drop compared to the last state fiscal year: The Colorado Legislature took out $31 million to help balance the state budget, and the energy industry ratcheted down its investment in the Rocky Mountains.

The agency’s grants are made up of energy production taxes, and were established to help local communities cope with large-scale energy development.

Moffat County and the city of Craig apply for grant funding every year to pay for things such as roads, water lines and new equipment.

However, at least for the fiscal year from July 2009 to June 2010, that will change.

The letter from DOLA states the agency has about $47 million for this fiscal year, which is down about $30 million from a few years ago.

It also states DOLA likely will not fund equipment replacements unless there’s an emergency or a direct relation to energy development, which Gray said could have a big impact locally.

On average, Moffat County applies for about $800,000 each year for equipment, he said.

“In order to keep budgeting for routine replacements, whether it’s Sheriff’s Office vehicles or whatever, we’re going to have to incorporate that into our spending,” Gray said.

DOLA also plans to institute other measures to stretch grant funds, such as reducing the number of application cycles from three to two, and discouraging any public school district applications unless they are for a project that affects the entire community.

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