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County commissioners congratulate local candidates who won election to office
Dan Gibbs, Chair, Board of County Commissioners: 970-333-4707
Scott Vargo, County Manager: 970-453-3404
SUMMIT COUNTY – Local voters approved Summit County Measure 1A Tuesday to support wildfire mitigation, mental health, recycling, public facilities and affordable preschool. Passed with 61.45 percent of the vote, the measure will generate $8.8 million per year through a 4.7 mill property tax.
"This puts us in a much better position to address some of the most significant challenges that our community is facing," County Commissioner Thomas Davidson said. "In true Summit County fashion, people have come together to support one another. On behalf of the Board of County Commissioners, I'd like to extend our sincere gratitude to the voters, who made a decisive choice to invest in a stronger Summit County."
During the next several weeks, Summit County will work with community partner organizations on implementation of the programs and projects that will receive financial support from Measure 1A.
"Over the last couple of years, a broad coalition of organizations and subject-matter experts has been working hard to put together the details of these proposed programs," County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said. "We're very excited to move from the planning phase into the implementation phase."
In addition to Measure 1A, races for several elected offices were on the Summit County ballot. The Board of County Commissioners recognized candidates who won election or re-election to local and state offices.
"Congratulations and thanks to Clerk and Recorder Kathy Neel, Treasurer-elect Ryne Scholl, Assessor-elect Frank Celico, Surveyor Gary Wilkinson, Coroner Regan Wood, Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons and Representative-elect Julie McCluskie, who will all continue to dedicate themselves to public service in our community," Commissioner Dan Gibbs said.
Measure 1A Expenditure Details
Measure 1A will provide about $1 million per year for wildfire mitigation programs and strategies, including fuel breaks around neighborhoods, hazardous fuels reduction, street-sign improvements for responder navigation, fire hydrant line improvements, cistern installation, road upgrades for firefighting equipment access, secondary egresses from subdivisions, wildfire prevention patrols and public education on wildfire prevention.
The mountain pine beetle epidemic caused extensive damage to more than 140,000 acres of forest in Summit County between 1996 and 2014. The community has also seen marked increases in its visitation and resident population numbers, with corresponding increases in new development in forested areas. These factors, combined with hotter, drier conditions resulting from climate change, have increased the potential for large, high-intensity wildfires that threaten homes, public safety, infrastructure, water supplies, wildlife habitat and recreation resources. Pre-disaster wildfire mitigation and prevention measures are critical to Summit County's ability to minimize losses.
Measure 1A will provide about $2 million annually for mental health and suicide prevention programs and services, including additional mental health therapists in schools, intensive substance-use-disorder treatment services for youth and adults, specialized therapy for suicidal individuals, mental health professionals to accompany law enforcement officers on relevant calls, public outreach, support for individuals with serious mental illness and professional development for mental health providers.
Summit County's suicide rate is about three times the national average, and 27 percent of residents report having symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. Demand for mental health services in local schools has nearly doubled over the last three years. Professionals and Summit County residents report drug and alcohol abuse as the most prevalent health concern in the community, yet local options for treatment are minimal.
Summit County worked with Building Hope and Mental Health Colorado through a yearlong community process to identify service gaps, areas of greatest need, proven strategies and cost estimates for mental health programs. The resulting mental health improvement plan serves as a roadmap to strengthen the continuum of local mental health treatment to ensure that youth and adults in Summit County can access quality care in a timely fashion.
The measure will also provide about $1.7 million per year for recycling and waste-diversion programs and services, including expanded food scrap collection and composting, a recycling drop-off center in the Dillon-Silverthorne area, zero-waste stations in public buildings, collection of No. 3-5 plastics, mattress recycling, glass drop-off depots throughout the community and increased capacity for recyclable materials at the Summit County Resource Allocation Park (SCRAP).
The proposed waste diversion plan was developed by the Summit County Zero Waste Task Force, a group of stakeholders representing local restaurants, municipalities, resorts, residents, refuse-collection businesses, waste-diversion experts and the SCRAP. High Country Conservation Center facilitated the yearlong process. At full implementation and utilization of these programs, Summit County projects that the local waste-diversion rate will increase to 40 percent – nearly double the current diversion rate of 21 percent.
Measure 1A will provide about $1.6 million annually for repairs and improvements to extend the useful life of public buildings and facilities, including the repurposing of facilities to support Summit County Search & Rescue and Summit County Road & Bridge; expansion of the Summit County Emergency Operations Center, the Summit County Community & Senior Center and Summit County Library; and construction of new child care center(s) to meet growing capacity needs in the community.
The ballot measure will provide $2.5 million per year to ensure the affordability of early childhood care and learning for all Summit County 4-year-olds. The proposed sliding-scale tuition-assistance program was developed by a community task force that includes Early Childhood Options, Summit School District, Summit County, local child care centers, The Summit Foundation, the Family and Intercultural Resource Center and Early Milestones Colorado, a statewide organization that facilitates implementation of best practices by early childhood programs.