By Lyndsie Ferrell
DEL NORTE— Rio Grande County Commissioners met with Senator Larry Crowder during their end of month meeting on Aug. 29 to discuss some issues in the county that the senator wanted to help address.
The senator is currently working on several issues within the State Senate and wanted to hear from the commissioners on the issues that directly affect them as a county.
“It has been a busy year and I really try to take some time to visit with the local governments to hear about some of the issues facing you this year and what I can do to help. One of the main issues I am handling in the state right now is the underfunded district attorney offices in the 22 districts and how we can change the way money is delegated to these branches,” stated Crowder.
Crowder explained that one of the issues many rural counties face within the district attorney offices is that people come to work and train for rural communities, learn the basics and then leave for higher paying positions in larger municipalities. “People come and train here, get their knowledge and then leave for higher paid positions in other cities. We want to figure out a way to keep them here by offering more incentives,” said Crowder.
Rio Grande County Commissioner Karla Shriver was the first to speak on the subject, agreeing with the senator that there was an issue within the district attorney’s office and that it would be nice to be able to have more funding. “It’s something we face with many of our departments, but the district attorney’s (DA) office is by far the most expensive for the county. We have no more funding to delegate to the DA, so anything the state could offer would be appreciated,” said Shriver.
“Our main goal is to get the classification of rural county district attorney offices in order to gain more funding. Whether we do that by population or case load, we do not know yet, but it is an issue we are working on that will hopefully benefit the counties,” continued Crowder. “We will be working with the judicial districts to figure out how to do that.”
“This would be a huge benefit to the communities that have this issue if we can get it pushed through,” stated Shriver.
Crowder continued to explain that a study was done two years ago on the judicial districts in the state, only to find that the information received made it look like the districts were equally funded. “The problem with that study was that it was state-wide. We need to separate the districts and gather information separately to get correct information and then again it is all how you look at it,” said Crowder.
Commissioners thanked Crowder for coming to speak with them and moved on to the main agenda. Crowder is the state senator for 16 districts in Colorado including Rio Grande County.