Board increases tax request from voters | AspenTimes.com

Board increases tax request from voters

Pitkin County Commissioner George Newman, far right, waves as commissioners get set to hold their first meeting Tuesday in their new meeting room in the county's new Administration and Public Safety Building on Main Street.

Pitkin County commissioners Tuesday bumped up the amount of property tax they're asking voters to approve in November for a fund that provides many health and wellness services for the community.

Instead of asking voters to raise the mill levy for the Healthy Community Fund by $1.62 per $100,000 of assessed value, county board members decided to ask voters to raise the tax by $1.74 per $100,000 of assessed value.

That's because county Health and Human Services officials initially neglected to take into account about $90,000 in statutorily mandated fees from the Treasurer's Office, said Nan Sundeen, director of Pitkin County Health and Human Services.

If passed by voters, the fund's tax rate would rise from $5.41 per $100,000 of assessed value to $7.15 per $100,000 of assessed value. The total mill levy would be 0.99.

The increased tax would raise another $750,000 and bring in a total of $3.08 million per year, Sundeen said. The Healthy Community Fund pays for mandated public health services, mandated health and human services, senior services and grants to local nonprofits that concentrate on varying areas of community wellness.

With the extra funding, the breakdown of how the fund will be distributed is 46 percent to health and human services, 22 percent to public health, 15 percent to senior services, 12 percent of local nonprofits and as much as 5 percent to manage the fund, Sundeen said.

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The tax was first approved in 2002 and has been reauthorized by voters in 2006 and 2011 for six years each time. This go-around, commissioners decided to ask voters to authorize the tax for nine years instead of six.

Sundeen and other officials will bring a final resolution with ballot language to today's regular BOCC meeting, where it will be approved on first reading. A public hearing is scheduled for Aug. 22. Ballot language must be submitted to the Clerk's Office by Sept. 7, officials have said.

Board Chairwoman Patti Clapper urged members of the public to attend the Aug. 22 public hearing and share their opinions.

"We really want to hear from the public on (Aug. 22)," Clapper said.

jauslander@aspentimes.com