Youth Care Center takes big bite of County funds
Craig — The Moffat County Board of Commissioners had some concern over the Moffat County Youth Care Center facility during its meeting Monday. According to commissioners, the rate of kids entering in the facility has dropped to the point where the facility has become a drain on Moffat County finances.
“I’m looking at something here that says we’re $240,000 in the red and that’s just for the last six months,” said County Commissioner Joe Janosec. “Folks, it has become a financial drain on Moffat County. I think were going to have to bite the bullet, however we bite it. We only have so many kids. It would be a lot cheaper to send them out than to do what we’re doing now.”
Low levels of support from neighboring counties is blamed for the poor financial shape of the facility. When the facility was upgraded, more children were expected to be sent from neighboring counties. Instead, support has dropped.
“If you don’t have the clients, you have to reduce staff,” said County Commissioner T. Wright Dickinson. “We are suffering from a case of too many chiefs and not enough Indians. By that I mean too many staff and not enough clients.”
News wasn’t all bad for the facility. The commissioners praised the school program that has developed at the facility, but said the bottom line couldn’t justify the improvements that have been made.
The commissioners decided the first step in turning the center around would be to draft a letter to Grand County and Routt County questioning the low level of support.
The commissioners want to single out the reason for low support and see if changes can be made to increase enrollment at the facility.
Richard Henderson, Director of the Moffat County Youth Center, believes a letter isn’t the answer to the financial troubles.
“We’re tightening the drawstrings on our staff,” said Henderson. “I think that situation will cure itself. There are other things as far as marketing also that will help increase the numbers of kids at the facility.”
In other business:
The commissioners were pleased with a progress report given by Steve Grandbouche, superintendant of parks, on the Loudy-Simpson Ice Arena. The arena is expected to be opened Dec. 1 or earlier, depending on the delivery of the equipment, he said.
The commissioners voted to approve a contract with a company out of Pennsylvania called Burley’s Rink Supply to install a cooling system that will have the ability to keep ice year-round in the facility.
“It will be great,” said Grandbouche. “A lot of people are excited about it. It should meet the needs of the skating community and can also be used by the non-skating community as well.”
The cooling mechanism will be state-of-the-art and will allow for multiple uses year-round on the arena floor.
Commissioners and county officials feel confident they will receive another Great Outdoors Colorado grant for $25,000 to help install the system.
“I think we’ve got a real good shot at getting the grant,” said Debra Murray county administrative assistant.
Local hotels and restaurants have committed to donate food and lodging for representatives from Burley’s Rink Supply.
Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos believes the facility will benefit more than just the hockey players in Moffat County.
“We’re excited about the progress,” she said. “The community has really come together to help with this project. Everyone in Moffat County should benefit from the completion of this facility, from the kids to the business owners.”
Some students are choosing to chart their own course after graduation, bucking the conventional path of college or trade school, but with no less ambition than their degree-seeking peers. Moffat County High School senior Tyler Gonzales is one such student, who has chosen to dive into a full-time job at Chaos Ink after graduating and feed his passion for design and entrepreneurialism.