Klanderud for 1A | AspenTimes.com

Klanderud for 1A

Dear Editor:Pitkin County is about people – the people who live and work here, and make it a community. As Aspen’s mayor, I have made health and human services a priority to insure a healthy community.In 2006, there are 42 nonprofit agencies throughout our valley providing health and human services to our children, youth, families, older citizens and individuals of all ages with physical and mental health challenges. The network of services available to all, regardless of ability to pay, is remarkable for a community this size. The level of professionalism and caring is unsurpassed. These services are essential to the health and well-being of Aspen, Pitkin County and the Roaring Fork Valley.I know the vast majority of you agree. In 2002, with a 60 percent voter turnout, you passed the Healthy Community Fund with a 72 percent margin of approval. Since 2002, this dedicated source of funding has made possible the revenue necessary to support our nonprofit organizations that provide these critical health and human services. Your support speaks volumes about a community that cares and understands that Pitkin County is only as strong as its people are strong.No longer can we depend upon federal and state funding to provide for our health and human services. Agencies supported by the Healthy Community Fund have had more than $1.5 million cut from their budgets by state, federal and foundation funders over the past five years. In addition to the Healthy Community Fund, our agencies must also raise additional funds. They are able to leverage Pitkin County support to raise funds from municipalities, the state of Colorado, foundations and individual donors. Among 38 of the 42 agencies funded in 2005, the Healthy Community Fund provided only 4 percent of their total funding. Among those agencies that provide what many consider basic services, i.e., public health, mental health and senior services, the Healthy Community Fund provided only 23 percent of their total revenue.Please join me and vote “yes” on Pitkin County Question 1A to continue to provide a stable source of funding for our health and human service agencies. We must keep Pitkin County strong.Helen Kalin KlanderudMayor, city of Aspen