Here are the results of key races and ballot measures on the Nov. 6 midterm election.
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Larimer County voters have approved a tax to fund behavioral and mental health services and a new facility.
Larimer County ballot issue 1A asked voters to approve a 0.25 percent sales and use tax to build a behavioral and mental health facility on 40 acres of Larimer County-owned land at South Taft Hill Road and Trilby Road, in between Fort Collins and Loveland.
With nearly 136,000 ballots counted, the measure had more than 61 percent support in early returns Tuesday.
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“The people of Larimer County came through. The people of Larimer County were ready for this,” campaign manger Gil Barela said. “Now the work starts.”
The tax is estimated to bring in $15.7 million in 2019, and advocates say it will fund much more than just a building. While the facility isn’t expected to be up and running until 2021, some services funded by the initiative should be available to the public June 2019 at the latest, county Behavioral Health Project Director Laurie Stolen told the Coloradoan.
“So many people worked so hard,” said Diann Rice, the citizen committee chairperson for the campaign.
A similar measure failed in every city in the county except Fort Collins in 2016. This year, advocates focused on communicating what this issue would do for the entire county, said SummitStone Health Partners CEO Michael Allen.
“I think we did a better job of explaining how these services will be distributed around the county,” Rice said. “This referendum was much better thought out than two years ago.”
Larimer County Behavioral Health Project Director Laurie Stolen talks about Ballot Issue 1A at the site where a new facility is proposed to be built.
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The tax will fund both mental health and withdrawal management, or detox, services for residents through contracted service providers with the county. Advocates say while some of these services do already exist in the county, many are underfunded or unable to meet the growing needs of residents.
Campaign treasurer and volunteer coordinator Jody Shadduck-McNalley said she did more than 60 presentations across the county, from Colorado State University to a retirement home in Berthoud, to help explain how this would impact the county.
“We made sure it was well understood that we’d be expanding resources across the county,” Shadduck-McNalley said, adding that a main goal is to focus additional resources into schools.
After every presentation, Shadduck-McNalley said people would approach her to tell their stories of struggle mental health and addition issues, and those difficult conversations fueled her during the campaign.
“(I saw) a lot of faces, and now I’ll always carry them with me,” she said. “This is a really important step in the right direction.
Larimer County Commissioner Steve Johnson, who attended Tuesday’s watch party at Loveland’s Tap House, said this was the most important issue he has worked on in his 10 years as a commissioner.
“There are so many citizens in our county who are unable to get the help they need,” Johnson said. “I think we’re going to be a leader in the state (in mental and behavioral health services).”
Allen said this had been a major priority for SummitStone in the last few years, and he’s happy to see Larimer County voters come together to support mental and behavioral healthcare in the county. Next, SummitStone plans to bid on some of the services that the facility will offer “that make sense for us,” and continue to be collaborative, Allen said.
“We’ll continue to be collaborative and work with others to fill gaps,” Allen said. “And now we get to work.”
Background: Larimer Issue 1A aims to close gaps for people struggling with mental health
Background: What to know about Larimer’s mental health ballot Issue 1A