Search and Rescue receives full funding

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The City Council agreed to fund Routt County Search and Rescue with the full amount it requested, but said next year it would like to see a greater partnership with other agencies.

After the city and county cut the nonprofit's funding in half last year to $15,000, Search and Rescue member Tim O'Brien said its revenue went down by 50 percent.

During the community support portion of Tuesday's budget hearing, Council President Kathy Connell approved the increase of $35,700 and said it met a basic city service.

"Our Search and Rescue team is outstanding. It has made national news and Front Range news," Connell said. "I have a very hard time saying we do not fund them because the cuts last year were very deep."

Even if Search and Rescue receives $35,000 from the city for two years, O'Brien said the organization would still be in the red.

Councilman Paul Strong said the city funded Search and Rescue by $15,000 in 2001, but the funding went up to $35,000 the next year for funding equipment. He said $15,000 was too low, but questioned if the city should be spending $35,000 on the organization's general operating budget.

"This is really the sheriff's responsibility and the county's responsibility. For the city to fund at the same level as the county, I don't think it's appropriate," Strong said. "I think the county should take a lead on this."

Councilman Steve Ivancie recommended that Search and Rescue also try to partner with Ski Corp., which uses the organization on missions for those who have gotten lost after going out of bounds in the ski area.

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