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Montezuma County Commissioners Decide Not to Support GOCO Lottery Office

Montezuma County Natural Resources and Public Lands Coordinator James Dietrich said the county may want to ask for GOCO funds to support the proposed Paths to Mesa Verde project, but the commissioners decided not to support the GOCO reauthorization

The Montezuma County commissioners on Monday balked at supporting the reauthorization of a state office that administers lottery proceeds. County federal-lands coordinator James Dietrich presented the board with a draft letter  sent to him by the City of Cortez. The City Council has already passed a resolution supporting the reauthorization of the Lottery Division, which is part of the Colorado Department of Revenue. The Legislature is to decide next year whether to reauthorize the division until 2039. But Commissioner Keenan Ertel said he was not interested in signing the letter of support unless the formula that allocates lottery funds is changed. Currently, proceeds are split between the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund, or GOCO; the Conservation Trust Fund; and Colorado Parks and Wildlife. That formula is set in a constitutional amendment passed by state voters in 1992. To date, projects in Montezuma County have received close to $10 million in GOCO funding. Dietrich said the county may want to seek GOCO funds for the proposed Paths to Mesa Verde trail, and Administrator Melissa Brunner said the fairgrounds regularly receives lottery funding. But Commission Chair Larry Don Suckla likewise said he could not support the reauthorization. He voiced anger over a dispute with Parks and Wildlife over the proposed Phil’s World bicycle trail expansion and an eagle’s nest there. Commissioner James Lambert concurred.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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