Pitkin County board grants community fund appeals | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin County board grants community fund appeals

Two Roaring Fork Valley nonprofits will receive $30,000 more from Pitkin County in grant money, while a third won't get anything because of tax problems.

Pitkin County commissioners last month doled out nearly $1.5 million in grants to nonprofits from the Healthy Community Fund — a property tax reauthorized by voters last month for the third time. The money goes annually to nonprofits that benefit the community's health, along with another $1.75 million from the fund that goes toward the county's mandated public health efforts.

Two of the 67 valley nonprofits that received only a portion of the grants they asked for appealed the board's decision to the citizen's board that reviews grant applications and makes recommendations to the board, asking for the entire amount requested.

In the case of Wilderness Workshop — Carbondale-based advocates for environmental policy — the nonprofit initially asked for $20,000 for air- and water-quality monitoring and monitoring of oil and gas leases in the county. However, commissioners and the citizen's review board didn't like that the air- and water-quality monitoring results were not supplied back to the county and decided to give the agency only $10,000.

Will Roush, Wilderness Workshop director, told commissioners Tuesday that the nonprofit merely gathers the air- and water-quality information and submits it to the federal government.

The problem is that the information isn't compiled by the federal government into a report specific to Pitkin County's air and water quality, said Jon Peacock, Pitkin County manager. Still, the information is available and establishes a baseline, he said.

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Commissioner Rachel Richards said she'd like to see that information become available to Pitkin County for later use. Roush agreed that such availability would be beneficial.

The second organization to appeal their Healthy Community Fund grant was Aspen Strong, which promotes strong mental hygiene. The agency asked for $30,000, though the review board and commissioners only funded it for $10,000.

The review board unanimously voted to approved the full funding.

"This reflects the opinion that the organization is in a development phase and needs support to realize some of its goals starting this year," according to a memo to commissioners. "All members concurred that with such an increase, it is important for this to be an annual grant to be reviewed carefully next year to measure the impact of this incubation/infusion of funding."

Commissioners agreed Tuesday to give the agencies the full funding.

"I'd like to see this go forward," Commissioner Greg Poschman said. "I think Wilderness Workshop and Aspen Strong are essential parts of the community."

Finally, the Aspen Camp for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will not receive the $9,500 in Healthy Community Funds it was slated to receive, according to a memo from Mitzi Ledingham, the county's strategic partnerships director.

Camp officials last week said they were dealing with financial difficulties, including a $145,000 tax lien, while also trying to "reinvent" themselves.

The camp can reapply for HCF funds for 2020 if camp officials are ready at that time, the memo states.

jauslander@aspentimes.com

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