After voting earlier this month to defund the Colorado State University Extension program, the Montezuma County commissioners said Wednesday they actually are not going to do so.
At the end of a special meeting with the Western Region director for the CSU Extension, Commission Chair Larry Don Suckla noted that the 2018 budget has not been adopted yet and said the office won’t be defunded. He said, “We threw some fake news out there so we could have this conversation.” Suckla said early in the meeting that he had been unable to get regional director C. J. Mucklow to come hear the county’s concerns about county extension agent Tom Hooten, a statement Mucklow disputed. Commissioner Keenan Ertel said even if the county defunded the extension office, it would keep funding the 4-H program. But Mucklow said 4-H is a program of CSU Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and would go away if the county cut funding. Suckla voiced concern that photos of buyers of animals at the annual 4-H livestock auction this summer had not been published in the Cortez Journal. 4-H coordinator Andrea Jeter said she has no funds to pay to have the photos printed. Ultimately, the commissioners and Mucklow agreed to seek help from a CSU extension agent from another county - such as La Plata - as a temporary measure and to try to clarify responsibilities among the county, the extension office, and the fair.