Larimer County is continually identified as one of the best places to live. Very soon we’ll have the chance to ensure our community also remains one of the safest places to live.
The November election will ask voters to respond again to maintain public safety by extending the current sales tax initiative to support operations of the county jail for the next 15 years.
Public-safety programs in Larimer County are threatened due to budget cuts if the two current sales taxes lapse. These taxes were originally established to expand and operate the county’s criminal justice facilities and will sunset shortly. If this happens, the current funding shortfall of $3 million will balloon to $11 million.
Larimer County has been a responsible steward of our community’s dollars and, in fact, is recognized throughout the state of Colorado as having one of the most efficient and effective correction programs. From 2005 to 2010, while the overall county population increased by approximately 5 percent, our jail population declined by almost 10 percent, from 519 inmates daily to 469. Currently there are 155 jail inmates per 100,000 residents, compared to 292 statewide and 242 nationally. This equates to $8 million to $13 million in annual savings compared to other communities.
When it has really mattered, Larimer County residents have stepped up to the plate to support critical community issues. Let’s make sure we step up again with this essential vote to help protect our local businesses, schools and residents.
Cheryl Olson, Chair
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Partnership