Commissioners Continue Work on Final 2017 County Budget



Just about every item on the Prowers County Commissioner’s meeting agenda on Monday, November 7, focused on next year’s budget issues. A morning work session with Janet Lundy, Finance Director & Budget Officer began their day and from there, moved on to Road & Bridge, Building Operations, Public Health & Environment, Internet Technology, Department of Human Services, Sheriff’s Office, Prowers Area Transit and Senior Center, Children’s Hotline, Clerk & Recorder and the work session also ended with Janet Lundy for yet another budget update.

Eric Niemeyer, Executive Director of High Plains Community Health Center, provided an overview of the clinic’s on-going efforts to recruit replacement and additional physicians. He explained, “Finding an internal medicine practitioner is an on-going challenge, even with creative ways to sweeten our recruitment package.  We’re also searching for a dentist.  We have two good candidates at the moment and we expect an offer to be made within the next several weeks.”  Niemeyer said there has been some general discussion at the clinic about hiring a dentist to serve at one of the outlying clinics, but to date, no plans have been formulated to move in that direction.

The executive director mentioned that the clinic’s board decided to make a financial contribution to join PEP, Prowers Economic Prosperity organization and selected a representative to serve on the board. “That looks like a table we want to be at and I feel it will be a good opportunity for economic growth in the county,” he stated.  Niemeyer told the commissioners that his clinic has moved forward to creating a collaborative committee with Prowers Medical Center, plans that have been in development for almost a year.  “We have identified some projects to review and more details on those meetings will be forthcoming in the future.  We’re putting together plans to work together in such a way that overall medical services will become streamlined to better serve our community,” he explained.

Anne Marie Crampton, Lamar Community College Foundation Director, spent time discussing the COSI, Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative, with the commissioners who made a $10,000 matching grant last year for student scholarships. “We’ve distributed our COSI funds of $36,840 in grants and matching funds to 25 students in our southeast Colorado area,” she explained.  Crampton said LCC’s service area encompasses, Baca, Kiowa, Cheyenne and Prowers County, plus shared contributions with Otero Junior College for Bent County.  Altogether, she said, this has meant as much as $90,000 for student funding in this portion of the state.  “Apparently our efforts created a type of ‘wave’ in Denver as we were one of five community colleges in the state to apply for an extra pool of funding from COSI and from a private business, Quarterly Form which has allowed eleven, $5,000 scholarships moving into 2017.”  Crampton said she’s been working to highlight the scholarship programs in some outlying communities to attract eligible students who may want to apply for these scholarships.  She mentioned some local contributors to provided academic funding including PCDI, Bob and Helen Emick, George and Mae Gotto, Gary and Patsy Oxley as well as the Spitz Cattle Company.  “Each of these contributions became eligible for tax credits as well,” she explained.  Crampton said next year’s total funding through these past grants could amount to $95,000 and asked for the commissioner’s consideration for similar funding from their previous year.

By Russ Baldwin.

Filed Under: City of LamarCollegeConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyEducationFeaturedHealthPublic SafetySchoolYouth


About the Author: