The Grand Junction Jury came to a decision on October 15th, 2018, to provide over $400,000 as student scholarship to Colorado Mesa University. This amount is calculated to be $150,000 more than what the city’s budget is. This extra money is being taken out of the city’s surplus funds of $222,000.
Councilors of the Grand Junction City came together to discuss and come to a decision on whether or not more fundings should go towards a scholarship for their local college. Councilors Bennett Boeschenstein, Chris Kennedy, Duke Wortmann, and Rick Taggart said they supported the decision to provide extra funds to the university for scholarships, while Mayor Barbara Traylor Smith and councilors Duncan McArthur and Phyllis Norris disagreed.
Councilman McArthur vehemently disagree with extending funds to the university for scholarships on the ideology that the city should not fund be responsible to fund education, citing that the city should not be “the college’s piggy bank” to the Daily Sentinel.
On the contrary, Councilman Taggart and the others who advocated for extra funding believed that the extra funds are a necessity and should be considered part of economic development that will benefit in the long run.
Councilwoman Smith also voiced that councilors should revisit their policy of funding nonprofits, as they will continue to ask for and expect more funding into the future. Instead, she thinks the extra money should go towards hiring more first responders. That is already a pressing issue that the Grand Jury has decided to raise the sales tax to compensate for it.
Councilwoman Smith said “I think when we go to the public and ask you to raise the sales tax, the public is going to say there’s $2 million going out of the general fund,” Smith said. “Why aren’t you using that?”
In the past five years, the city has funded more than $2.2 million to nonprofit groups.