Last year the North Fork Valley received about half of Delta County’s lottery-funded Conservation Trust Fund monies.
The County disbursed about $131,000 in 2013, with North Fork projects receiving $64,500.
Colorado’s Conservation Trust Fund receives about 40% of the state’s lottery profits. The funds are distributed to Colorado counties based on population.
Delta County received about $125,000 last year. 2012 was the most successful lottery year ever, with more than $545 million in sales.
The County’s Accounting Director Margaret Davey recently told commissioners that all of last year’s projects have been officially approved, making the county eligible for next year’s amount.
Davey tracks the funds, making sure that the projects - all ear-marked for public recreation - meet the fund’s criteria. County-owned facilities like the Delta County Fairgrounds and the shooting range near Eckert receive priority.
In 2013, more than half the funds were spent on county property, most of it on the Fairgrounds in Hotchkiss. Another big expenditure was the Town of Paonia’s Apple Valley Park, which received $30,000 for new tennis courts and a fitness path.
The County is currently holding several years worth of funding.
“That’s just our conservative policy, to keep that money,” says Davey. “At the end of 2013 we had $315,000 but about $100,000 needs to be reserved.”
At the recent meeting, Commissioner Bruce Hovde asked Davey about whether the money was in jeopardy if left unspent. Davey says there’s “never been any talk about that.”
Commissioners in each district accept and recommend proposals. Only projects on public facilities are eligible.
Since the lottery began in 1983, Delta County has received about $12 million in funds, half of them through the Conservation Trust and half through Great Outdoors Colorado, or GOCO.
In 2013, the Colorado lottery earned a record 566 million dollars, with 54 million going to the Conservation Trust Fund.