RIDGWAY – With potential funding being cut from the state, Ouray County Social Services Director Allan Gerstle said on Monday that he is waiting to see what the local implications of the cuts will be. Regardless of the impact, believes that Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter did his best in preserving the programs people need to survive.
Gerstle revealed some of the details from Ritter’s 2009-2010 budget reduction plan during a meeting of the Ouray Board of County Commissioners.
“There have been a few cuts that will affect the county but I believe the governor and his staff did a good job trying to protect the social services programs that the most vulnerable of citizens need. In general, I believe he did his best.”
Gerstle reported that participation by Ouray County residents in the food stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has reached an annual high of 91 and he expects that participation in the winter’s Low Income Energy Assistance Program, (LEAP) will also be high.
“Is there a risk of running out of that money?” Commissioner Keith Meinert asked.
Gerstle said no, explaining that those programs are federal/state funded and that county money spent on them is for their administration only. He said the biggest effect of the cuts may be felt by those who receive social security because there will be no cost of living adjustment this year, or it has been suspended.
Gerstle will continue evaluating how cuts this year and next will affect the county’s social services programs, but he is still waiting for the actual numbers to come in.
“I can’t say what it will mean in this current fiscal year,” he said. “I hope to put this picture into focus soon.”
Horsefly Fire Protection Storage Building Permit Approved
After the approval of its building permit, the Horsefly Fire Protection Association can now begin constructing a 40 by 60-foot steel building on one acre of land on Mariposa Drive just east of Government Springs Road. The building will house firefighting equipment.
On Monday, the Ouray Board of County Commissioners approved a special use permit for the building, which will enable the fire protection association to store water-holding firefighting equipment during the freezing winter months. The commissioners also waived the county’s special use permit fees for the nonprofit organization.
The special use permit is valid for two years, after which time it will be up for review. Dan Quigley, the agent for the fire protection district, said that while the building is only intended for storage, adding potable water and a septic system could be something the association would look into as money becomes more available.
Despite their support for the building, some of the commissioners expressed displeasure with the fact that the association poured the building’s foundation before the necessary permits were issued. Quigley explained that the concrete was donated and they were forced to pour it when they did to secure a certain rate.
“I appreciate the work that Horsefly does and I want to see this go forward,” Commissioner Keith Meinert said, but added that he was “troubled” by the notion that they poured the concrete first and asked for forgiveness later. “I want to make sure our requirements are adhered to.”
With that, the commissioners unanimously approved the special use permit.