Restoring trust, building community: Step 3 | AspenTimes.com

Restoring trust, building community: Step 3

Dear Editor:

“Seniors: Our Longest Term Eagle County Taxpayers”

Keeping our longest term tax payers in Eagle County is not just a government issue ” this is a community issue. The senior members of the founding families of Eagle County are forced to move to a health care facility outside of Eagle County when they are no longer able to care for themselves.

As our county grows and ages, senior care is a more pressing issue. To build a sustainable community for all our families’ members we need to move senior care up on our priority list. To build community we must work together as a community to expand the spectrum of health care facilities and services that will keep our family members and friends close us.

In the ideal situation, aging seniors live with caring family members or friends. I spent 20 years as a long-term health care administrator and I know that this is not always possible despite the good intentions of the family and friends. Some seniors need more medical care and assistance than a family member or friend is able to provide at home.

In my view, government is usually less efficient, less qualified and a more costly provider of these basic services than the private sector. Increases in property taxes squeeze our fixed income seniors the hardest, so solutions should not add that additional burden. The community issue is how to provide the widest spectrum of services, in the most productive and efficient manner. As with child-care, the operation and ownership of these facilities should be kept in the more efficient private or nonprofit sector.

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A non-partisan committee of concerned citizens with a wide variety of backgrounds have been meeting and working on the issue of bringing more senior health services to Eagle County. Seniors, senior caregivers, health care providers, hospitals, nonprofit foundations, developers and other people who are passionate about this issue want to work with the county to come up with a community solution.

It is no surprise that one of the biggest barriers is the cost of the land for a senior health care facility. Eagle County must be a partner in working with the community to acquire the land needed to build these facilities. This can be done through a number of vehicles that are available to the government, but not to the private sector. For example, a land owner may be willing to grant some land for this use in exchange for increasing development rights on a different parcel. This is just one example of a solution that will be a win-win for the future of our community without increasing our tax burden.

If you missed Point one or two of my 10 point plan for restoring trust and building community, you can find it on my website at http://www.electdebbiebuckley.com.

Debbie Buckley

Eagle County Commissioner Candidate

Avon

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