On Monday, two Mesa County commissioners squabbled over the details of a $730,074 federal grant to treat methamphetamine addicts, and a third commissioner peppered the local sheriff with questions about a grant for a $213,716 crime-fighting vehicle.
In the end, though, all the grant requests were approved, including a $3.13 million request to expand the county jail and $269,114 to train state prisoners to be janitors.
Commissioners Janet Rowland and Steve Acquafresca locked horns last week discussing what funds the county should seek as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. One of the items was “scholarships” for treatment of meth addicts who have been arrested.
The federal dollars, if approved, would be distributed through the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice and are to be used by addicts to seek treatment at a variety of locations, including the county’s Summit View treatment facility (which has 24 county beds), Hilltop and The Salvation Army.
Rowland favored applying for the financing. Acquafresca also did, but he took exception to the verbiage.
“They are calling it a scholarship,” an irritated Acquafresca said after the initial meeting on the subject.
“Scholarships are generally perceived as a reward, a reward for an accomplishment. What the heck kind of an accomplishment is it to go in for methamphetamine treatment? That is not a compliment — that is a failure. So we are rewarding people for failures.”