Montrose, CO — With its philosophy of making the most effective use of local tax dollars, the City of Montrose continues to leverage millions in grant funding to strengthen collaboration between local governments, nonprofit organizations, and businesses for the benefit of the community.
Last year the city was awarded $1,245,233 in grant funds supporting approximately $2,390,923 in city and community projects, according to a report provided to City Councilors Tuesday by city Grant Coordinator Kendall Cramer.
Grant dollars were used in a variety of community projects in the areas of public safety, economic development, environment and recreation, animal well-being, pedestrian connectivity, tourism, public health, and historic preservation.
In January 2020 the city opened the Connect Initiative Recreation Trail for public use, a highly anticipated milestone in one of the largest construction projects of its kind in the history of the community. The project was funded primarily by a $2 million grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO). The trail, which connects the connecting the southern and northern areas of the city, had a projected cost of $3 million. With the $2 million GOCO grant, combined with donations from other community partners including the Montrose Recreation District, the city's overall investment in the project was only $350,000.
According to the city's grant management policy; grant funding can offset costs to provide services and to implement public infrastructure projects by maximizing and leveraging local tax dollars. By pursing and receiving numerous grants from both the state and federal governments, the city has been able to recapture tax dollars that have left the community and to re-invest those revenues in Montrose.
The 2019 grant report states that the city received grant funds from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, Colorado Water Conservation Board, Gunnison Basin Roundtable, Colorado Tourism Office, Downtown Colorado, Inc., Colorado Pet Overpopulation Fund, Animal Assistance Foundation, LiveWell Colorado, Region 10, History Colorado, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado Department of Public Safety - Division of Criminal Justice, Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado Department of Human Services, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program, Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training, a unit of the Criminal Justice Section of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, U.S. Department of Justice, and, Walmart.
City Manager Bill Bell implemented the city’s collaborative approach to seeking and utilizing grant funding in 2012. Since this program began, the city has received millions in funding from dozens of state and federal agencies, which has earned the City of Montrose a reputation as a collaborative leader in Colorado.
“We are pleased to have had the opportunity to serve our local non-profit organizations by offering grant writing and grant coordination services to support their important and necessary projects,” Bell said. “We are proud of our work with organizations such as the Center for Mental Health, PIC Place, Sharing Ministries, the Boys and Girls Club, HopeWest, the Montrose Community Foundation, the Montrose/Olathe School District, and the Montrose Recreation District, just to name a few."
The city primarily receives grant revenues on a reimbursement basis upon project completion. The city also operates as a pass-through entity when it receives grant dollars on behalf of community partners for various projects. When the city serves as a fiscal sponsor for non-governmental organizations, pass-through grant funds are reflected as revenues in the city’s financial spreadsheets and annual audit.
“We are very proud of our state-wide reputation as a community who knows how to leverage our taxpayer dollars to achieve great things for our residents by utilizing outside funding opportunities on a regular basis. It is important for our citizens to understand that, as the 'pass-through' steward of these grant dollars, our annual revenues look inflated. Therefore, to get a true sense of our city's operating budget, one must look at both the revenue and expense side of our capital improvements budget,” Bell said.
One 2019 project highlighted in the report was a partnership between the city and the Center for Mental Health (CMH), a Colorado non-profit organization, to apply for and receive a federally funded Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. The $267,450 grant was used to replace the roof and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system at the recently opened CMH Crisis Walk-in Center in Montrose.
"Pursuing grants is a top priority of the City of Montrose in its efforts to deliver exceptional services, complete infrastructure projects, and support our community's nonprofit organizations," said Grant Coordinator Kendall Cramer. "We will continue to seek out grants that leverage existing funding revenues, bring outside money into our community, and reinvest state and federal tax dollars in Montrose. We are grateful for the support of all of the granting agencies and local partners that have made Montrose a collaborative leader in the state."
To read more from the 2019 grant report click here
For more city news visit CityOfMontrose.org