Budget cuts for Mesa County have put some programs on ice

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MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KKCO) Yet another year of budget cuts for Mesa County are putting many projects and agencies on the chopping block, with some losing part or all of their funding. Among those being affected is the Grand Junction Economic Partnership. (GJEP)

Previously the organization received $25,000. After the budget was announced GJEP appealed a total cut in funding at a meeting Wednesday afternoon. GJEP officials altered their request to 10% less than the $25,000.

The commissioners have proposed a plan of their own asking GJEP to come to them and seek money from a capital fund when it has a solid project plan rather than asking for a lump sum.

"We were looking to take it out of capital. If an existing business needed to expand, or a new business that is coming in and they need some infrastructure improvements we would grow that fund to have that money available," says Rose Pugliese, County Commissioner District 3.

“We want to see our partners at the table with us investing in the operations that we do, and the programs that we set up that help us led to new prospects hopefully coming into our community," says Kelly Flenniken, Director of GJEP.

"Just really important that we show that collaborative between the county and the private sector, to show that we are open for business. We're working together and everybody is doing what they can to get those dollars invested back into the community," says Ed Forsman, GJEP Board Member.

“I think we need to start thinking creatively as a community as to how we can help our existing businesses grow. I’ve been doing a lot of work with manufacturers here in our county and they've got some great ideas and some different things we can do. I think GJEP needs to be a part of that process," said Pugliese.

Commissioners say they need to cut about $2.3 million from their budget. The budget will be finalized December 9th.

The Commissioners have until then to make a decision on GJEP and other agencies appealing funding cuts.

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