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Northern Colorado Mental and Behavioral Health Facility Headed Back to Voters

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
07/31/18  2:03 PM PST
Mental and Behavioral Health Facility

Northern Colorado Mental and Behavioral Health Facility Headed Back to Voters By Saja Hindi for the Coloradan 

Dozens packed the Larimer County Commissioners hearing room Tuesday.

As commenter after commenter took the microphone, continuous pleas were made for the commissioners to allow voters to reconsider a ballot initiative they said was vital to the community — a tax to fund a new mental and behavioral health facility.

During his turn to speak, Loveland resident Bob Massaro turned around and asked how many people in the audience knew someone who either died by suicide or attempted suicide.

Almost every hand in the room went up.

Larimer County commissioners on Tuesday unanimously agreed to refer the question to the ballot after more than a dozen people spoke in favor of the issue and one against.

But they made one change: If the measure passes, the county will collect the .25 cent sales tax (25 cents per every $100) over a 20-year period, rather than 25.

Commissioner Steve Johnson said when the ballot issue failed in 2016, one of the major concerns people who voted against the tax mentioned was that it would be collected over too long of a period of time. Now, if the need is still there in 20 years, a new board of county commissioners can discuss the potential to extend the tax.

But that’s not the only difference in how the tax issue was handled this year, Johnson said. “The goal was always about getting services out to the community,” he said, but advocates didn’t talk about the services as much or about the children it would benefit.

“This proposal is vastly different than the one we ran two years ago,” Johnson said.

Larimer County hired Laurie Stolen, who was working in Alternative Sentencing, to lead the county’s behavioral health effort, which included community outreach and focus groups with residents who voted against the tax in 2016.

Read the Full Article on the Coloradan.