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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
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Can a county government, within Colorado, donate to a non-profit? A

Customer Question

Can a county government, within Colorado, donate to a non-profit?
A local "non-profit" organization is trying to build a $12M "nursing home", which qualifies for $10M loan. The non-profit organization, is short $2M. We are aware that the County (in which the nursing home will be built), has a budget surplus of $3M.
Thus, would the County Commissioners have the authority to donate $2M to the non-profit nursing home, which will serve the same county. -- Or would the proposal need to be presented to the voters within the county?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 2 years ago.
I am about 100% certain that your County commissioners cannot donate, or allocate taxpayer money to a non--profit nursing home, unless it is to be owned by the county itself. Likewise, County officials cannot use taxpayer money to support charitable causes.
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 1 year ago.
HELLO AGAIN. I hope that my Answer has been helpful. If you need more information, please send me a Reply. If not, I hope that you will enter a positive rating for my Answer so that I can receive credit for assisting you. Thanks again for using JUST ANSWER.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am not satisfied with this answer ... you provided an "opinion" without providing any CO statutes to support your opinion.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
The county government cannot actually donate the money, but they can vote to participate with the non-profit in a joint venture to complete the construction and then can later vote to sell their share of the project to the non-profit. However, under Colorado Revised Statute 29-1-110, all expenditures must be in the budget and voted on and they also would require bids on the contract because it would make it then a government project (which creates another set of headaches for a project). The statute provides any expenditure of public funds requires notice and disclosure to the public, such as through public hearings and formal adoption of budgets, be complied with before public funds can be spent. See: Shannon Water & San. Dist. v. Norris & Sons Drilling Co., 29 Colo. App. 48, 477 P.2d 476 (1970).
So you can propose this to the government board and they can put some proposal together to be presented and discussed at a public hearing and then voted on as to what to do with their surplus.