Referendum 1A lets us define who we are
Dear Editor:With Referendum 1A, the Healthy Community Fund, the voters of Pitkin County will once more have the opportunity to help define what kind of community we want to be. Funded at the rate of $5.27 per $100,000 of residential value, this property tax will create a stable source of financial support that benefited 42 non-profit agencies and thousands of local residents and employees in 2005. We currently live in an era where federal and state support for human services has reached a deplorable level, and many politicians choose to build prisons rather than fund human services. This initiative allows a caring community to help those in need access a wide variety of services providing prevention, intervention, treatment and support. In this context, Referendum 1A is really a local investment in our human infrastructure. It is also a bargain for the social costs it mitigates and the problems it prevents. The facts are that this fund does not carry the agencies that apply for it, but allows for that crucial margin of operation many are up against. In 2005, the Healthy Community Fund provided only 4 percent of the total combined revenues of those agencies qualifying for grants tied to the fund. It is also important for voters to understand that this is performance-based funding, not a simple handout. A volunteer citizens grant review committee oversees the grant allocation process and makes recommendations to the County Commissioners. Agencies receiving funds through a grant must demonstrate accountability and show a measurable benefit to the community through established performance measures. Those interested in the 2005 Healthy Fund Report Card can access this data at aspenpitkin.com.Thank you for your consideration of 1A, at bottom a values driven, quality of life question. Jeff KremerDirectorAspen Counseling Center
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The city of Aspen is supposed to break ground on 300-plus housing units in 2024 but if Monday’s meeting with elected officials is any indication, the project could take years before coming online.