Underfunded courthouse grants are available

STATEWIDE – The application period will open on Sept. 3, for grants to help eligible counties cover costs associated with courthouse master planning services, repair and remodeling, or construction projects. About $3 million is available from the Colorado Underfunded Courthouse Facility Cash Fund.

Forty-two counties which meet at least two of the criteria set in statute are eligible for grants; 19 of those counties are given the highest priority for grants because they meet all the statutory criteria. Applications, rules and other information on the grants may be found at www.courts.state.co.us/underfunded. Grant applications must be received by 5 p.m. Oct. 26.

Under Colorado law, counties are responsible for building and maintaining courtrooms and other court facilities; the Judicial Department is responsible for furnishing those courthouses. The 2014 General Assembly created the grant program to help counties with the most limited financial resources ensure access to safe courthouses that allow for the efficient and effective administration of justice.

To be eligible for grants, counties must meet at least two of four criteria set in statute: counties whose total population is below the median among all Colorado counties; counties in which per-capita income is below the state median; counties in which property tax revenues are below the state median; and counties in which the population living below the federal poverty line is above the state median.

Funds from the grants may be used to pay for master planning services for a courthouse project, matching or leveraging additional grant funds or to address emergency needs due to the imminent closure of a courthouse. Grant funds may not be used to pay for furniture, fixtures or equipment, and cannot be used as the sole source of funding for new construction unless the need stems from the imminent closure of a courthouse.

Completed applications must be received by 5 p.m. Oct. 26 to Marty Galvin, c/o State Court Administrator’s Office, 1300 Broadway, Suite 1200, Denver, CO 80203. Applications will not be accepted by fax or e-mail.