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Dear Editor,

We at the Central Colorado Showing Up For Racial Justice (CCSURJ) would like to help foster greater transparency with regards to the Salida City Council’s approved budget for 2021, specifically the contingency funding in the General Fund-Other.

In the approved budget, $71,000 has been allocated for contingency use. According to Aimee Tihonovich, Finance Director, rather than giving $71,000 to an FTE position within the Police Department, the council set these funds aside to be either moved to the police department at a later date OR to community giving outside designated Community Grants (requested through Chaffee County Community Foundation).

There is an opportunity here for our local community partners who work on social justice to access $71,000. City Administrator, Drew Nelson, is seeking all interested and deserving organizations (Chaffee County Hospitality Inc, The Alliance, Full Circle Restorative Justice, SolVista – a few that immediately come to mind) to come before the city council and request these funds before year’s end.

When individual council members have been approached about this issue, there is uncertainty and, what we feel to be, little transparency about who could apply for the contingency funding.

This is an open invitation to every organization in our community to attend the city council meeting on November 17 or December 15 to seek clarity AND present a formal proposal of the need for contingency funding.  We believe that the more inclusive our city’s budget is, the better our community will become and allocating $71,000 across multiple organizations will have the most profound impact.

Respectfully,

Central Colorado Showing Up For Racial Justice (CCSURJ) Leadership Team

Megan Lombardo, Salida