Paul Gray, executive director of Region 10, told the Montrose City Council at a work session last week that of the 24 entities that support the organization, Montrose is the largest. Those entities, including six counties and 18 communities, formed Region 10 back in 1989, and each agreed to pay a portion of Region 10’s administrative costs, based on population, he said.
Earlier this year Region 10 sent the City of Montrose a bill for $13,617, but received only $7,000 in payment. Then-mayor Jose Abeyta instructed Gray to come back before a newly elected council after the April election, since the new fiscal year begins on July 1. At the meeting, Gray made a request for the remaining $6,617 balance owed.
“Region 10 really delivers a lot of returns, and the city of Montrose gets the most, so it’s not a handout, and the benefits to Montrose total $992,481,” Gray said. “That is pretty telling.”
That money breaks down as follows: $393,806 in direct support to the Area Agency on Aging, $48,252 in rent savings for emerging businesses at Region 10’s Enterprise Center, $376,976 in Enterprise Zone business tax credits, $168,707 in Enterprise Zone tax contribution credits, and $4,740 in Enterprise Zone Marketing grants.
No business loans were made in 2009 because of a lack of funds, Gray said, but Montrose businesses previously received 57 percent of all Region 10 business loans, totaling $5,154,525. And last November, Region 10 received $500,000 in Community Development Block Grants, and currently has $245,000 in pending business loans, he said.
If Montrose doesn’t support Region 10, Gray said he’s afraid of a domino effect. He said Nucla has already backed out of its funding obligation and Paonia is on the fence.
“If Montrose doesn’t contribute, it could snowball, and Region 10 could cease to exist,” he said.
Every penny that Region 10 brings back to communities can be documented, Gray said, including $38.5 million spent on highway improvements in Montrose, Delta, Ouray, Hinsdale, San Miguel and Gunnison counties.
“We operate the Gunnison Valley Transportation Region, and we prioritize the list for CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation),” he explained.
The total money Region 10 expects to receive from the 24 entities it supports is $145,000, which is used to pay administration salaries. Region 10’s remaining operating funds come from state and federal grants, which are use to support all of the organization’s programs.
“Region 10 gets a lot of money from grants, but they don’t bring in enough to run administration,” he said. “We depend on that $145,000 to pay our 5.6 staff members.”
After Gray’s presentation, City Manager Mary Watt told the council they had already seen next year’s budget, and then councilmember Thomas Smits suggested adding a line item to pay Region 10.
Mayor Kathy Ellis suggested tabling the request and putting it on the agenda for the council’s June 17 meeting.
Gray’s final comment was, “If Region 10 were to disperse as an organization, someone would have to take it on, but nobody can do it less expensively than we do.”