RBC I The State of Colorado Energy and Mineral Impact Advisory Committee met recently to review requests for grants from state severance tax and mineral lease revenues, and has awarded Rio Blanco County $2 million.
These revenues are derived from oil, gas, carbon dioxide, coal and metals extracted in Colorado, including in Rio Blanco County.
The county applied for these grant funds from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to offset construction costs associated with the Rio Blanco County Justice Center Project, which is planned in downtown Meeker, the county seat.
Eric Jaquez, the Rio Blanco County project coordinator, said, “Receiving these funds is an excellent opportunity for the taxpayers of Rio Blanco County and reinforces the belief that this is the optimal time to proceed with this project.”
The grant application and project were reviewed based on a variety of factors such as its connection to energy impact, degree of need, measurable outcomes, amount of request, relationship to community goals, level of local match and community support, management capacity and readiness to go.
Rio Blanco County Commissioner Jeff Eskelson acknowledges that, “While this is a great project, it is imperative that the taxpayers know the source of this funding. These funds are a portion of the Federal Mineral Lease (severance tax) dollars generated by energy production in Rio Blanco County, paid to the federal government, then redistributed by the State of Colorado. These are dollars that rightfully belong to Rio Blanco County.”
Matching grant funds provided by Rio Blanco County are derived from severance tax and federal mineral lease distributions, impact fees and use-tax funds saved over the last five years.
No debt is being incurred to construct this project, Eskelson said.
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