1A passage critical to Aspen Counseling Center | AspenTimes.com

1A passage critical to Aspen Counseling Center

Dear Editor:

The Aspen Counseling Center is one of the many beneficiaries of the Healthy Community Fund, and we enthusiastically endorse its renewal and encourage Pitkin County voters to vote yes for Referendum 1A. The Healthy Community Fund provides a dedicated source of funding for health and human services within Pitkin County.

On average, the Healthy Community Fund provides only 5 percent of the total funding needed for essential community services. Aspen Counseling Center receives approximately 6 percent of its operating budget from the fund. However, Healthy Community Fund dollars are critical to the viability of our agency because we are able to leverage Pitkin County support to raise funds from other municipalities, the state of Colorado, family foundations and individual donors. Therefore, this incredible fund has incredible impact on this community, and on citizen and worker access to quality mental health and substance abuse services at affordable rates.

If the fund is not renewed, the loss to nonprofit agencies and to the Aspen Counseling Center would be significant for both the ability of our agency to raise funds and to plan for and adjust staffing capacity to provide services. During the economic downturn, the Aspen Counseling Center and many other nonprofit agencies have seen significant increases in demand for services, while at the same time there have been significant decreases in federal and state funding. These contrasting trends have resulted in the real need for our community to come together in support of our friends and neighbors in this time of increased need.

The Health Community Fund will maintain a community that has protective services available for children and adults, preventative social and health programs are available to maximize each person’s potential to lead a productive life, and a strong social support network of programs and services are available to those who need them as early as possible to avoid higher costs later on.

Please remember to vote yes on Question 1A, and return your ballot to the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s Office by Nov. 1.

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Andrea Pazdera

Aspen

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