City grants request for $30,000 to fund center’s detox unit

A last-minute request for money, an April voter question likely concerning transportation, and the Horizon Drive improvement project took center stage Monday during the Grand Junction City Council workshop.

Councilors gave the go-ahead to a one-year allocation of $30,000 for the detox program at Colorado West Regional Mental Health Center. Despite the timing late in budget season, councilors commented on the value and necessity of the program.

“I don’t know what we’d do without them. ... I’d be very concerned about public intoxication or leaving people in a dangerous situation,” Grand Junction Chief of Police John Camper told the council.

There is no room in the jails and the emergency rooms are not equipped to handle these situations, and that ties up police officers, he added.

Councilor Teresa Coons said this is a public safety issue.

“It’s not just funding for mental health in general, but the detox facility and we, by far, are the users of that,” said Coons, referring to about 75 percent of the clients being from Grand Junction this year.

The request came out of a recommendation to the nonprofit by the Mesa County Board of Commissioners.

Councilor Jim Doody and Mayor Pro Tem Laura Luke expressed reservations.

“I think it’s a rabbit hole,” Doody said. “I think if we go down it, we’re in it. This year it will be 30, next year it will be 50.”

More thorough evaluation is needed in the future and grant options should be explored, councilors commented.

As they moved to the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights question, 
Dec. 6 was selected for a public open house. In a recent survey by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, transportation led the priority list.

Both the survey and open house came out of the possible ballot question for funds that exceed the limits of TABOR to complete the beltway, a $60 million project including a 29 Road Interchange, connecting 29 Road from Patterson to Interstate 70, and widening 24 Road from Patterson to I-70. This would be a reallocation of taxes, and the question to voters must be worked out by February.

“It would be nice to reach out to as many people as we can. ... This is a big deal,” Ken- yon said.

TABOR funding may also tie to the Horizon Drive improvement project, city officials said.

After a recent presentation by Clark Atkinson, president of the Horizon Drive District, councilors committed their support to the area that has an annual economic impact of about $300 million.

However, instead of using 2013 budget dollars, they are starting with in-kind services.

Throughout the upcoming year, they will look at design and costs and are hoping for approvals or financial support from the Colorado Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration, explained Tim Moore, deputy city manager.

“There’s some really good work we can do in ‘13 and set ourselves up for ‘14,” he said.


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