July 2017 enewsletter header 

Ballot issue 1A:

Community Foundation supports
a regional solution for mental health care

Mental health affects us all. 

Based on demands it places on our first responders, in emergency rooms, and in our classrooms, it is an issue that is already costing area taxpayers millions of dollars each year.

On average, one in five county residents confronts a mental health issue at any given time, which is about 65,000 people in Larimer County. Using this formula, below is approximate number of people who lack access to services, including treatment for alcohol and drug use, in these communities:                                          

Fort Collins33,000   |   Loveland15,400   |   Berthoud  – 1,280   |   Estes Park1,280

Because we think Larimer County can do – and deserves – better, for the first time in its 43-year history, the nonpartisan Community Foundation of Northern Colorado is taking a stance on a ballot initiative and supporting 1A. We are the community’s foundation, serving hundreds of local donors and distributing over $12 million into our community last year; but being nonpartisan doesn’t require us to ignore the inefficient and ineffective use of taxpayer dollars. We believe it’s time to facilitate a regional solution to deliver cost-effective mental health care to reach those at risk before they are in crisis, to enhance public safety, and to improve our collective quality of life.

The facts

According to the Crisis Assessment Center at UC Health, there are between 350-400 emergency room admissions per month for Larimer County residents who need help with addiction issues and/or mental illness. And the Poudre Fire Authority reports that 80 percent of its calls are medical calls, with 75 percent of those related to behavioral health. 

Another astounding statistic is our countywide suicide rate: there is one suicide every five days in Larimer County, adding up to over 350 suicides between 2013-2017. This includes the heartbreaking loss of several pre-teens, including two 11-year-olds.

One goal of this ballot initiative is to offer services to prevent people from ever reaching a behavioral health crisis.  Many mental health issues can be identified when a person is young, so making partnerships with area schools is a key component.

San Antonio provides a noteworthy example of how a community can collectively address mental health issues.  In the 10 years since the city opened a mental health complex, close to 50,000 people have been treated. And as a result, San Antonio-area law enforcement has saved more than 100,000 manpower hours, and taxpayers have saved more than $50 million. At the same time, the city has significantly reduced its homeless population.

a plan for mental health

Larimer County’s vision is three-fold: address mental health issues before crisis stage with preventative programs; establish a new mental health facility for managing these issues during crisis stage; and provide recovery programs for post-crisis treatment. 

The status quo is simply too costly in terms of both dollars and lives. Between today and  November 6, we have the opportunity to give our County the tools to address local mental health concerns and reduce the need to outsource care across county lines.

Please join the Community Foundation, local government, and business leaders to support ballot issue 1A. Visit www.lccitizensformhm.com for additional information.

We urge you to get engaged in your community and vote

There are many important initiatives on the 2018 ballot. While the Community Foundation has not taken a position on Proposition 112 and Thompson School District Ballot Issues 5A and 5B, we encourage you to research these ballot items. There are many resources, including an interactive tool from The Colorado Independent, a tool from nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Voters, and one from the Colorado General Assembly. Please exercise your right to vote by returning your ballot by mail or in person on or before November 6.

Proposition 112

A citizen-initiative that increases the buffer zones between oil and gas development and occupied structures and vulnerable areas.

Major Provisions:

  • Requires that all new oil and gas development not on federal land must be located 2500 feet from an occupied structure or a vulnerable area; and
  • Determines that the reentry of an oil or gas well that was previously plugged or abandoned is considered new development.

Arguments for*

1) Oil and natural gas operations may adversely impact public health, safety, and the environment. Some people living near these operations have reported negative health effects to the CDPHE, including sinus and respiratory conditions, as well as other symptoms such as headaches and nausea. Such development increases noise, traffic, dust, light, and odors. Proposition 112 requires that new oil and natural gas development be located farther away from homes, schools, businesses, and other occupied buildings, thereby reducing nuisance impacts and potential exposure to air pollutants. Proposition 112 also establishes a required setback from water sources and recreation areas to help protect those resources.

2) Over the past several years, Colorado's northern Front Range has seen both substantial urban development and increased oil and natural gas activity. Proposition 112 provides property owners with greater certainty about the location of new oil and natural gas development in their communities. Keeping oil and natural gas development farther away from occupied structures reduces resident exposure to industrial activity and the potential hazards related to such activity. It may also improve the quality of life for nearby residents. Some people are reluctant to purchase or rent a home or visit a business or recreation area located near oil or natural gas development. 84 Proposition 112: Increased Setback Requirement for Oil and Natural Gas Development 

Arguments against*

1) Proposition 112 eliminates new oil and natural gas activity on most non-federal land in Colorado. According to the COGCC, about 85 percent of Colorado's non-federal land would be excluded from development with the required 2,500-foot setback. Oil and natural gas development is important to Colorado’s economy, generating an estimated $10.9 billion in production value in 2017 and supporting many other industries and jobs. Proposition 112 will reduce the economic benefits the oil and natural gas industry provides for the state and may result in the loss of jobs, lower payments to mineral owners, and reduced tax revenue that is used for local schools and other governmental services and programs.

2) Proposition 112 is unnecessary because the existing COGCC setback requirements provide a balanced approach to protecting public health, safety, and the environment. The state’s existing setback requirements were developed through a collaborative rule-making process and guided by technical expertise. When adopting its setback rules, the COGCC considered the concerns of mineral owners, residents, schools, businesses, and others. Under current law, the COGCC has the authority to modify setback requirements in the future, if necessary. 

Additional information:

https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/2018_english_final_for_internet_1.pdf page 88 of the Colorado Ballot Information Booklet

* Source: Colorado Ballot Information Booklet

Thompson School District Ballot Issues 5A & 5B

Thompson School District has one of the lowest mill levies in the state.  TSD voters have not approved a mill levy increase since 2006, state-funding reductions of $800M have resulted in deep budget cuts throughout the district. The TSD board and district officials say that the resulting cuts across the district, as well as maintenance delays, have created real needs that can’t be met without additional taxes.

Thompson School District Ballot Issue 5A (Mill Levy Override)
Asks for a mill levy of up to 7.6 mils in the 2018-2019 year and each budget year thereafter for the major provisions listed below. 


  • Maintain current class sizes and pupil-teacher ratio.
  • Increase and upgrade student security in school buildings including expansion of the school resource officer program.
  • Distribute a portion of such taxes to the District’s charter schools in accordance with state law.
  • Measure would mean a $191.52 yearly tax increase on a $350,000 home
  • To ensure the revenue is spent in accordance with the plans the voters approved, ballot language requires the District convene a citizen led audit committee. 

Thompson School District Ballot Issue 5B (Bond Ballot Issue)
Voters last approved a bond election in 2006.  Cuts in state funding have resulted in school maintenance delays. The TSD Board of Education asks for $149 million bond to repair and improve existing schools and to build one new school.  Progress on repairs and building a new school would be monitored by a Citizen’s Oversight Committee.


  • Upgrade school building safety and security systems and upgrade fire alarm systems to current code
  • Extend the useful life of aging buildings by performing backlogged repairs and maintenance.
  • Remove or abate asbestos and update obsolete technology in schools
  • Construct, furnish, and equip a new K-8 school.  Add 8 additional classrooms to Berthoud and Ivy Stockwell schools
  • If approved, the $149.0 million bond would mean a $103.0 yearly increase in tax on a $350,000 home.

Additional information:

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