Ritter announces reinstatement of $5.1 million in gaming impact funds

Gov. Bill Ritter announced this week that $5.1 million in funding for the Local Government Limited Gaming Impact Program has been reinstated. The funding, initially targeted to help address recession-caused budget shortfalls, will be made available to communities impacted by gaming activity.

The grant funding cycle was suspended in October 2009 as a budget balancing measure. After working with the Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee the past few months, Ritter announced the reinstatement.

“This program is an important financial resource that assists local communities address the impacts of gambling,” Ritter said. “These funds support services provided by law enforcement, mental health agencies and many others. Due in large part to the hard work of the JBC, I am pleased that these funds will continue to help communities address their unique needs related to the gaming industry.”

The Colorado Department of Local Affairs administers the Local Government Limited Gaming Impact Fund. The program was created by the Legislature after voters approved limited gaming in 1991. It is financed with a portion of state taxes on limited gaming activities in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek.

A new timeline has been established for getting grants to communities. An abbreviated grant cycle will award funds to eligible entities that had submitted applications in 2009. Awards will fund eligible programs, services and/or capital projects for the program period of July 1 through December 31, 2010.

The timeline for the abbreviated grant cycle is as follows:

April 16 – Deadline for revised applications

May 21 – Limited Gaming Impact Committee hearings

June 3 – Award announcements are made

“The Department of Local Affairs will work expeditiously to make grant awards to our partners at the local level,” said Susan Kirkpatrick, executive director of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.