City Council finds means to fund needed services
Good work by the members of the Grand Junction City Council this week in deciding to proceed with funding next year that the city has provided in the past to Grand Valley Transit, the Grand Junction Economic Partnership and Colorado Mesa University.
We and others have previously argued that the city would be penny-wise and pound-foolish if it gutted funding for organizations that are important in helping this community improve its long-term economic outlook, as both CMU and GJEP do.
Grand Valley Transit has a somewhat different role, helping people get around the valley if they don’t have, or choose not to use, their own vehicles. It is an important community asset, not just for low-income residents, but for people attending college here from out of the area.
Since its creation, GVT has been a shared community endeavor, with money coming from the three municipalities in the valley and Mesa County, based upon a formula agreed upon by all the entities seven years ago. No wonder Fruita city officials were upset when Grand Junction city councilors were considering the possibility of significantly reducing Grand Junction’s contribution.
Fortunately, the City Council members decided not to do that. But they put GVT on notice that they will seek more detail from the bus system and other entities on how their contributions from the city are spent.
That’s fine, but the City Council shouldn’t place too much expectation on the possibility of GVT becoming self-sustaining. As the Detroit Free Press reported two years ago, no public transportation system in a major metropolitan area in the country is self-sufficient. They all rely on a combination of federal and local subsidies to make up the difference between ridership fees and operating costs.
✔ The primary mission of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership is to bring more good-paying jobs to this community by recruiting new businesses to move here or helping existing businesses to expand. In doing so, it is also helping to grow local government tax revenue.
The City Council’s decision to continue that effort by maintaining its $40,000 contribution to GJEP is in the best interest of the city and its taxpayers in the long term.
✔ Colorado Mesa University has been one of the few economic bright spots in this region over the past few years, growing its enrollment and bringing more people who spend money and pay taxes. Also, it has significantly aided the local construction industry with its ongoing building projects and has provided an incalculable contribution to local culture.
The City Council’s decision to fulfill the commitment made by previous councils to pay $500,000 a year to help CMU pay for a new classroom building will help the university continue its progress.
Congratulations to members of the Grand Junction City Council for demonstrating they have their eyes on this community’s future, as well as being careful stewards of city finances.