Contact: Sue Smedstad 923-3915


Citizen Committee Encourages the Passage of Referendum 1A

For Immediate Release- September 24, 2018

(Aspen, CO) Helping from the Heart, a citizen committee dedicated to the renewal of a property tax to support Pitkin County’s Healthy Community Fund, has formed to educate the public on the importance of a “yes” vote on ballot question 1A in the upcoming November mail in ballot election.

The Healthy Community Fund tax was created by Pitkin County voters in 2002 and subsequently renewed by voters in 2006 and again in 2011. The Healthy Community Fund authorization sunsets at the end of 2018 unless it is renewed by voters on November 6, 2018. If it is not renewed, Pitkin County’s financial support for most health & human service agencies and community non-profits in the Roaring Fork Valley will be eliminated. Helping from the Heart committee members are working to educate the public about the importance of this safety net to the quality of life in our community.

“This small amount of property tax makes a huge difference,” said Helping from the Heart Co-Chair Warren Klug. “It defines us as a community of people helping people, passionate about helping our physical and social environment. The 70 non-profit agencies funded in 2018 provide key resources to support family, friends, neighbors and coworkers as they work through difficult times. Most of us know others who have benefited from these supportive and often transformative services. These programs are vital resources for our healthy community.”

The Healthy Community Fund supports programs for children, youth, adults and seniors, ranging from communicable disease control and hospice care to programs that encourage a healthy social, emotional and physical environment. Since 2002, the Fund has absorbed more and more federal, state and local funding mandates for critical life, health and safety programs including Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Public Health Core Services, Senior Services, Detoxification services and Integrated Health Care. The Healthy Community Fund is distributed to area non-profits through an annual grant process that is overseen by a volunteer citizen committee. There is accountability, public reporting and strict professional oversight of each dollar spent.

The cost for Pitkin voters is approximately $7.15 per $100,000 of property value in 2018. This will provide $3,079,189 in stable funding for the Healthy Community Fund each year for nine years.

For more information or to make a donation to support Helping from the Heart in its community education efforts, visit


What is the Healthy Community Fund?

■A dedicated property tax in Pitkin County providing critical financial support to 70 essential organizations

that offer health, human service and community resources to residents, workers and visitors.

■Current Healthy Community Fund tax sunsets in December 2018.

■A request to increase and extend the tax will be on the November 6, 2018 ballot.

What is the history of the Healthy Community Fund?

■Pitkin County has funded vital health, human services and community nonprofits since the 1960’s through the General Fund.

■Healthy Community Fund tax developed by Board of County Commissioners after an economic downturn in 2001 when Pitkin County was no longer able to continue funding non-profits without additional revenue.

■Pitkin County electorate passed the Healthy Community Fund tax in 2002 by 71%, generating $800,000; again, approving the tax in 2006 with 70% of the vote, generating $1,250,000; and most recently in 2011, approved by 61% of voters, generating $1,952,000.

How much will the Healthy Community Fund Generate in 2019?

■The Healthy Community Fund Ballot Question 1A asks to increase the Fund by $750,000 to generate $3,079,189.

■The Mill Levy will be approximately .993, which reflects $7.15 per $100,000 residential actual value and $28.79/$100,000 of commercial value (4 times the residential value). The fund will increase by growth and inflation each year.

Why the increase?

■The $750,000 revenue increase is a direct result of growing state and local mandates to support access to affordable mental health, substance abuse services and integrated health care, public health prevention services, and senior programming, an overall 32% increase from the current tax.

■ The Board of County Commissioners are requesting a 9 year term for the Fund tax starting in 2019.

How does the Healthy Community Fund Money Support our Community?

■The Healthy Community Fund provides a stable source of funding to 70 local non-profit organizations that work to promote the social, emotional, physical, environmental and economic well-being of our citizens and workers.

■These organizations enrich the quality of life in Pitkin County as most of us know family, friends and coworkers who utilize the services supporting birth, children and families, adults and healthy aging and environmental preservation.

■Non-profit organizations use Healthy Community Fund dollars to leverage other Federal, State and local funding. Without the Fund support, many agencies would need to significantly reduce the type and scope of services they offer.

How do we know Pitkin County is investing these revenues well?

■A citizen oversight group, the Citizen Grant Review Committee, is appointed by the Board of County Commissioners and annually reviews all the grants, making recommendations for funding to Commissioners.

■County staff make site visits to recipient organizations, conduct annual reports and outcome measurement review, work with organizations to identify and fill gaps in services and maintain a high standard of accountability and transparency for the fund.