Horizons kicks off campaign for mill levy

Luanne Jones and her 15-year-old son, Jeffery, have relied on Horizons Specialized Services for the past 15 years.

When Jeffery was two months old, he suffered a stroke during brain surgery. Because of the brain damage, Jeffery has the mental capacity of a 2-year-old.

"I have a crisis every now and then, and they are there to help me," Jones said of Horizons.

Horizons also helps Jones with her medical bills, which can cost as much as $25,000.

Jones was on hand Friday evening for the kickoff of the "Campaign to Help," which is seeking a mill levy on November's ballot to benefit Moffat County residents with mental retardation.

During the kickoff ceremony, Horizons passed out yard signs and information about the mill levy.

The mill levy, which will appear on the November ballot as Referendum 1B, would cost about $12 annually on a house worth $150,000. Horizons would see their operating budget increase by about $300,000 in Moffat County.

Horizons provides services including day care, housing, job training and transportation to people with mental retardation in Northwest Colorado.

The nonprofit organization serves people in Moffat, Routt, Rio Blanco, Jackson and Grand counties, but about half of the agency's work is in Moffat County.

Horizons serves about 70 clients in Moffat County, including 40 adults.

There is a similar mill levy on the ballot in Routt County, but money from the Moffat County mill levy will stay in Moffat County.

According to Amy Ibarra, Horizons director of service coordination, the mill levy will allow Horizons to give some level of care to all 15 adults on their waiting list in Moffat County.

Local businessman and former Craig Mayor Dave DeRose is chairing the campaign.

At Friday's kickoff, DeRose said he is supporting the mill levy because it will help people who need help the most.

"The people that 1B will help are people who can't help themselves," DeRose told the crowd of about 50 people, many of them decked out in bright purple Horizons t-shirts.

DeRose said for all the good the referendum will do, it won't cost taxpayers very much.

"When you stop and think about it, it is one dinner a year," DeRose said. "We can all afford that, trust me."

Ibarra said Horizons doesn't have any other events planned for the Campaign to Help.

"We're all new at this," Ibarra said. "We're not politicians, we're caregivers."

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031 or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com

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