Rene’ Littlehawk-Calicura: Vote no on 1B, a forced donation to Horizons
To the editor:
I work for Horizons Specialized Services. I have worked here just short of five years. I have been in human services for the better part of two years. The people I work with, both staff and clients, every day are some of the best people around. I consider it a pleasure to work with them, and I enjoy my job.
The mill levy request being put before you this November by Horizons is unfair to the general public. We need to think of the numbers being served here. The mill levy will serve only a very few. Not so long ago, we voted down a mill levy to benefit the fire district. That mill levy at least would benefit the majority of the county population.
Moffat County is home to about 13,200 individuals, and about 3,000 are in families. The current clientele of Horizons is about 40. Now, if you take into account the children’s services, you can come to a grand total of about 70 people served.
Horizons already has the programs in place they talk about in the mill levy verbiage. Yes, there are several people on the waiting list. The mill levy will only serve another six at best before they have to come ask you for an increase in the levy amount.
Although Horizons has made the statement that they are inexperienced in political campaigning, they did spend the money to hire an experienced campaign consultant. She is very experienced in the game of political manipulation of voters. There has been an unbelievable amount of money dedicated to this campaign and this consultant. This money could have been spent on the clients rather than this.
I have had individuals ask me if the mill will open a number of new group homes to house those people on the waiting list. No, it will not. As I said before, it will remove half a dozen people from the list at most.
Existing staff are under the impression that there will be raises forthcoming. I would not count on that. Personally, I do not want my neighbor paying for my raise even if the mill levy did come to be. Check the track record on years when there is a budget increase at Horizons. Were there pay increases then? They would be much more likely to pay for “specialists” and increase the starting salary of future employees.
Pay close attention to this — they are counting on this being what is referred to as an “off” or “odd” year. These are years when there are no presidential or national issues. These years generally show far less voter turnout and generally these voters are more involved with special interest groups that are driving the campaigns. Many of the support signatures that appear in the support flier are employees and their families or people otherwise closely affiliated with Horizons. Please make time to go to the polls to vote or request an absentee ballot.
How many of those who will vote for 1B pay property taxes? How many are renting or living with someone else so they are not affected by 1B?
Please consider your neighbors before voting for the passage of this mill levy. We have already had to bite the bullet and endure a major property tax increase. How many more $10 and $12 and $60 increases can we afford? Personally, I will not vote to force my friends and neighbors to make a forced donation to a nonprofit. This is a choice that should be left as that — a choice. Every individual should be allowed to decide whether they can afford $2 or $20 or none.
As a 15-year resident of Moffat County, I cannot support this mill levy. It would basically be telling my neighbors that donations are mandatory. With the recent increase in property taxes that the county residents have had to accept, asking for yet another increase is unconscionable.
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