Horizons officials campaign for 1B | CraigDailyPress.com

Horizons officials campaign for 1B

Brandon Johnson

Dave Walters had his mind made up about Referendum 1B long before he heard a presentation Monday about the tax increase.

“I’ve been supporting it all the way,” Walters, 60, said after a presentation to the Craig AARP chapter by representatives from Horizons Specialized Services.

“(Moffat) County is a family, and it is going to help the family,” he said.

Referendum 1B asks voters to approve a property tax increase of 1 mill to benefit Moffat County residents with mental retardation.

Horizons is a nonprofit organization that offers services to people with mental disabilities. State law allows the organization to request the tax increase.

If the referendum passes Nov. 1, it would cost taxpayers about $12 annually on a house worth $150,000. It would add $350,000 to Horizons’ operating budget in Moffat County.

Horizons board member Don Roth gave the presentation Monday.

About a dozen people at Sunset Meadows attended the presentation. Roth told them that Horizons needs the referendum to provide services to the people on the organization’s waiting list.

“We are limited as to how many people we can provide services to,” Roth said.

Of the 15 Moffat County residents on the Horizons waiting list; six need services immediately, he said.

“We are really, really concerned about our waiting list,” Roth said.

If the referendum passes, Horizons could provide some level of services to all six people who need it.

Those services include day care, housing, job training and transportation for people with developmental disabilities in five Northwest Colorado counties.

About half the agency’s work is in Moffat County.

Money from the referendum would not be used in the other four counties, Roth said.

“Those funds are going to be used in Moffat County,” he said.

There is a similar referendum on the ballot in Routt County. Money from the Routt County referendum would stay in Routt County.

Horizons serves about 70 clients in Moffat County, from newborn to age 5 and people older than 21.

Horizons also provides support for families of people with mental retardation, including financial assistance to offset medical costs.

When asked about who the referendum would benefit, Roth was quick to point out that although Horizons provides services to people with a variety of developmental and physical disabilities, the referendum would apply to people with an IQ less than 70.

Pat Pearce’s son Donald has been a Horizons client for more than 20 years.

Without Horizons, her son would have had to live with his parents, she said. Instead, he lives in a group home and has a job.

“It is wonderful for a young man to be able to live on his own with some help,” Pearce said.

There are similar mill levies in place in Denver, Arapahoe, Douglas, Jefferson, Larimer and Boulder counties.

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