GJ economic development funds to be cut

The city of Grand Junction next year will slash in half the amount of money it allocates to community organizations that help drive the local economy, as sliding revenue forces budget managers to trim spending in a variety of areas.

City Council members indicated last week that they will back funding recommendations from City Manager Laurie Kadrich that will cut economic development spending from more than $2.2 million this year to a little more than $1 million in 2010.

For organizations that received funding last year and requested funding this year, Kadrich recommended a decrease or elimination in funding compared to 2009 for Housing Resources of Western Colorado, the Riverfront Commission, Mesa Land Trust, the 5-2-1 Drainage Authority and the Grand Valley Housing Partnership.

Mesa Land Trust, which has received funding from the city since 2004 to help pay for its operations and acquire conservation easements, will not receive any money in 2010.

“As I look at the fact that we’re really narrowed to service- delivery budget, I didn’t see a direct tie to a city service,” Kadrich said of the Mesa Land Trust.

Grand Valley Transit, meanwhile, will receive the same $419,885 it received from the city last year, although the bus service requested $586,000 as it attempts to extend service hours.

Kadrich advised the council against a boost in funding or even entering into a multiyear agreement with Grand Valley Transit, as the city wrestles with its budget and explores the possibility of fueling vehicles, including Grand Valley Transit buses, with compressed natural gas.

“From my perspective, it’s too early to enter into a long-term contract,” she said.


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