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FARMINGTON — The Farmington City Council unanimously agreed to increase the amount the city pays for Salvation Army to operate The Roof, a winter shelter for homeless people facing freezing temperatures.

During a meeting this morning, the council approved the request from Salvation Army for an annual increase of approximately $19,300, or a little more than $3,860 a month, which will be paid retroactively to Nov. 1.

The Salvation Army has operated the winter wet shelter, known as The Roof, since 2002. The shelter is open for five months and the city has paid Salvation Army about $57,000 yearly since 2002.

The increase will bring the contract amount to about $76,300. Eric Schoen, the Salvation Army's regional development officer, told city council that last year the nonprofit lost $13,000 operating The Roof.

He said the Salvation Army wants to continue working with the city to operate The Roof, but cannot afford to subsidize the operations as much as it has been.

"We do not try to make any profits," he said.

Schoen said the costs of operating The Roof fluctuate each year and Salvation Army would provide a credit to the city if the operating costs are below the contract amount.

Mayor Tommy Roberts said he was not surprised by the request to increased the contracted amount. However, he questioned why it was brought to the council in the middle of the fiscal year rather than during the budget process.

Schoen explained that Salvation Army works on a different fiscal year that ends in October.

Assistant City Manager Julie Baird said the Salvation Army brought the request to the city in October. Because the city is also considering expanding the scope of the Salvation Army's contract, the request was not presented until today.

The city is also looking at contracting with the Salvation Army for transportation of people who are intoxicated to the Sobering Center.

While the council work session agenda originally included an agreement for the transportation, city council tabled it at the city manager's request. City manager Rob Mayes said the city is still negotiating the cost of the service.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

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