Tax reform could affect county services
Healthy Community Fund 2018 grants
Health and Human Services Grants: Family And Youth:
Alpine Legal Services: $25,000
Aspen Family Connections: $35,500
Aspen Family Connections-Isst: $25,000
The Buddy Program: $40,000
Casa Of The Ninth: $5,000
Catholic Charities: $15,000
Family Resource Center of RFSD: $40,000
Family Visitor Programs: $55,000
Mountain Valley Developmental Services: $70,000
Pitkin County Health And Human Services Emergency Assistance Fund: $35,000
River Bridge Regional Center: $10,000
Stepping Stones: $5,000
Valley Life For All: $10,000
Valley Settlement: $25,000
Your Friends For Life: $8,500
Health and Human Services Grants: Physical Health
Aspen Chapel: $3,500
Aspen Community Church: $3,000
Aspen Homeless Shelter: $30,000
Aspen To Parachute Dental Health Alliance: $30,000
Bridging Bionics Foundation: $6,000
Community Health Services, Inc.: $294,856
Hospice Of The Valley, Inc.: $55,000
Mountain Family Health Centers: $75,000
Pitkin County Public Health: $125,000
Planned Parenthood: $8,500
Roaring Fork School Health Centers In Partnership With Rocky Mountain Youth Clinics: $22,500
Windwalkers Equine Assisted Learning and Therapy Center: $15,000
Health and Human Services Grants: Mental Health And Substance Abuse
Colorado West Psychiatric Hospital d.b.a. West Springs Hospital: $20,000
Recovery Resources dba Aspen Detox And Drug Testing: $30,000
Mental health request for proposals: $182,000
Note: Pitkin County has asked area nonprofits to submit separate requests for this money in an effort to streamline how mental health in the county is funded.
Health And Human Services Grants: Seniors
Pitkin County Senior Services: 21 percent of fund revenue for 2018: $459,441
Health and Human Services Total: $2,238,797
Grants For Cultural, Recreational And Educational Groups
Access After School: $10,000
Andy Zanca Youth Empowerment Program: $4,000
Ascendigo Autism: $4,000
Aspen Camp Of Deaf and Hard Of Hearing: $8,000
Aspen City Of Wellbeing: $15,000
Aspen High School Project Graduation: $500
Aspen Public Radio: $6,000
Aspen Science Center: $5,000
Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club: $15,000
Aspen Youth Center: $20,000
Basalt High School Project Graduation: $500
Carbondale Community Access Radio, Inc. dba KDNK: $7,000
Challenge Aspen: $12,000
Colorado Mountain College Go2work Programs: $10,000
Colorado Western Slope College Fair: $1,500
Computers For Kids Foundation dba Youthentity: $8,000
English in Action: $20,000
Friends of the CAIC: $9,000
Grassroots TV: $21,000
Reach Out And Read Colorado: $2,000
Roaring Fork Leadership: $2,500
Roaring Fork Valley Early Learning Fund (a.k.a. Raising A Reader Aspen To Parachute): $12,000
Shining Stars Foundation: $7,500
Western Slope Veterans Coalition: $2,500
Aspen Center For Environmental Studies: $10,000
Aspen Tree: $10,000
Audubon of the Rockies: $2,000
Colorado Fourteeners Initiative: $5,000
Forest Conservancy: $15,000
Independence Pass Foundation: $18,000
Pauline S. Schneegas Wildlife Foundation: $4,000
Roaring Fork Conservancy: $10,000
Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers: $14,000
Wilderness Workshop: $20,000
The federal proposal to eliminate or curtail property tax write-offs could end up severely impacting Pitkin County’s support of health and human services and numerous area nonprofits, an official said Tuesday.
That’s because the Healthy Community Fund property tax that annually helps support those services and agencies is set to expire at the end of next year and could prove difficult to renew under the proposed tax plan, Pitkin County Commissioner Rachel Richards said.
“I actually had a little bit of a sleepless night thinking about that last night because the dynamics are changing when you’re no longer able to deduct property taxes,” Richards said during the commissioners’ regular work session Tuesday.
Efforts to lobby voters to renew the Healthy Community Fund next November will become that much more important, she said.
Both Senate and House versions of the tax reform bill contain provisions allowing deductions of as much as $10,000 in property taxes while eliminating deductions of state and local tax write-offs.
The Healthy Community Fund property tax mill levy brought in more than $2.3 million in 2017, according to Pitkin County. Last month, commissioners signed off on the list of 70 area nonprofits and county agencies that will receive pieces of the $2.2 million being distributed in 2018.
“It’s really come up because of the (increasing) valuation in property,” Commissioner Patti Clapper said recently. “(Agencies) have to show benefits back to Pitkin County. It’s the only way I can justify tax dollar support.”
Steve Wickes, a member of the citizens’ board that reviews each Healthy Community Fund grant application and makes recommendations to the county board, said the process was eye-opening.
“Sitting through this process reminds me that as a Pitkin County taxpayer, I’m very generous,” he said at a commissioner meeting last month. “The Healthy Community Fund is allowing these agencies to survive year to year.”
Now that he’s seen the need in the community, Wickes said he wants to see the property tax continue.
“I’m a convert,” he said. “I really hate to see it go away.”
Some of the largest grants from the fund go toward supporting county human services efforts, including more than $459,000 for senior services, $125,000 to Pitkin County Public Health and nearly $295,000 to Community Health Services. Another $182,000 will go to nonprofits that deal with mental health and substance-abuse issues.
Other grants support Catholic Charities, Planned Parenthood, the Buddy Program, Alpine Legal Services and many other health and human services agencies.
Still more grants support groups that focus on physical health, like dental and health care services and Aspen’s homeless shelter. Then there are grants for cultural, recreational and educational groups such as graduation projects at high schools, Aspen Public Radio and the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club. Finally, environmental groups including the Independence Pass Foundation and Aspen Center for Environmental Studies also benefit.
“To create a healthy community, you need additional support, especially with the federal government pulling back,” said Aspen City Councilwoman Ann Mullins, who has served on the citizen’s committee that recommends the grants for the past four years.
Clapper said it not only supports area nonprofits, but allows them to go out and obtain more funding because they can demonstrate local support.
“It’s a great way for Pitkin County to show support on a valley-wide level,” she said. “We’re all in this together.”
The Healthy Community Fund property tax began in 2002 and has been renewed by voters in 2006 and 2011.
Richards said Tuesday that using the tax to partially fund the county’s health department is problematic because it must be reauthorized every six years, which isn’t an effective way to fund such services in the long-term. That means perhaps the tax should become more permanent, she said.
“Pre-thinking and polling on that will become important,” Richards said.
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