Bridge to get more funds

Money to come from citations, court costs

Police citations and court costs are now more expensive.

After being informed last month of the Bridge Emergency Shelter's fiscal plight in providing the homeless and others to have a place to stay during the colder months, Cortez City Council Tuesday night formally approved additional funding for the shelter.

Beginning immediately, anyone receiving a ticket or citation, or appearing in municipal court will have to pay a $10 surcharge on top of the fine or the court costs.

The extra funds would then be provided to the shelter to use for whatever is needed.

At Tuesday night's public hearing, Bridge Board Chairwoman M.B. McAfee thanked the council for what she hoped and assumed would be a favorable vote.

She said the extra funds would be incredibly helpful to the shelter's budget going forward.

City Attorney Mike Green was the person who came up with the surcharge proposal when the council began looking at ways to assist the homeless shelter more quickly.

"I just want to say thank you," McAfee said to the council.

Roy Lane, speaking as a shelter board member and not as the Cortez police chief, thanked Green for coming up with the proposal.

Shelter Manager Donna Boyd said the extra funds would be a huge help in finding a new director to run the shelter.

In a typical year the Cortez Police Department issues between 1,100 to 1,200 tickets, and if everyone paid the fine the citations alone would provide the shelter with an additional $12,000 a year which would not include the court cost surcharges.

The council, as expected, voted 6-0 to approve the additional surcharges with those funds being given to the shelter.

"All of us wanted to do something (for the shelter), and it is a good way to use our power," Mayor Dan Porter said.

Still undecided is whether the immediate funds will affect the 2014 donation the shelter would receive from the city.

The council had discussed a $25,000 donation to the shelter in its 2014 budget, and Green said they may or may not want to decrease that donation by whatever amount the bridge receives from the surcharges.

Those decisions will be made by council during its budget process.

michaelm@cortezjournal.com