One of the most important components of any election — from the presidential election all the way down to local city government positions — is knowing the people, positions, and issues on the ballot. There are scads of names on every ballot, and learning about each candidate can feel overwhelming. However, making time to learn about each candidate is essential because of the impact they can have on your life. Do you want to have a say about how your tax dollars are spent, or whether a proposed road expansion is pushed forward? When it comes to local government positions in particular, voting isn’t necessarily a partisan issue. Instead, choosing the best candidate should depend more on who has the fiscal and local experience to best support our county’s needs.
Larimer County Commissioner
The Board of County Commissioners is a policy-making responsible for representing the interests of Larimer County at the local, state, and national levels. Basically, the Board of Larimer County Commissioners works with other county elected officials to help our county run well. This includes things like determining how to use revenue effectively to care for county needs, repairing and/or expanding infrastructure, and putting measures in place for public health and safety. Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list. The scope of the Board of Larimer County Commissioners encompasses a great many needs of the local citizens. What this means is a County Commissioner should have the ability to lead and motivate others to make sure action is taken, as well as the financial knowledge and experience to ensure your tax dollars are being used effectively.
What To Know For The November Elections
The Board of Larimer County Commissioners is made up of three members who serve four-year terms. Each County Commissioner represents a different district within Larimer County, and the election terms are staggered so there is a consistent combination of experience and new ideas. During the November 2018 elections, voters will be choosing a new County Commissioner for District I, which includes Fort Collins, Loveland, Estes Park, and other surrounding areas. You can find the full map of the different districts on the Board of Larimer County Commissioners website to see which district you live in.
Voting for a Larimer County Commissioner candidate means you’re choosing someone to support your interests. So, of course, the biggest part of choosing who to vote for is knowing what the current issues/topics at hand are and how they might affect you. Some of the current issues in Larimer County include:
Smart Growth Management
If you’ve lived in Larimer County for more than a couple of years, you’ve probably noticed the rapid influx of new residents. Growing populations require matching infrastructure growth to support our communities. It’s going to be up to the Board of Larimer County Commissioners to work with the municipalities within our county to plan for and implement changes to keep up with the growth happening.
Likewise, a growing population calls for infrastructure improvements. The Board of Larimer County Commissioners attends to concerns over road and bridge work, including repairs, expansion, and new construction. If you’ve noticed an influx of vehicles cutting through your neighborhood to avoid interstate traffic, this would be a concern to take to your district’s County Commissioner.
Behavioral Health Center
The Mental Health and Substance Use Alliance of Larimer County has proposed a behavioral health facility that would seek to treat and provide support for those with mental and behavioral health issues. A big benefit of this proposed center is that it would provide the care necessary to cut down on the strain on our local jail and hospitals.
Larimer County Comprehensive Plan
This is a policy document creating a framework for some of the more long-term decisions being faced by Larimer County. The Comprehensive Plan is based on the 1997 Larimer County Master Plan, which, as you may guess, needs some updating given the changes around Larimer County in the last 20 years.
Land Use Code
The Land Use Code determines how land and property can be developed and used outside of town or city limits. This portion of the Board of Larimer County Commissioners’ purview has been getting a lot of attention lately in terms of things like fracking policies and potential oil pipelines, as well as the more routine agricultural, business, and residential uses.
The Northern Integrated Supply Project, NISP, is generally concerned with water storage and supply for Northern Colorado. Their goal is to create two new reservoirs which will supply water to 15 small municipalities and water districts across Northern Colorado. Given how drought-prone our region is, this can benefit a lot of people. The flip side, however, is that it may divert some of the water flow from the Cache La Poudre River to do so. If you have opinions, now is the time to make yourself heard!
Larimer County Jail
When the Larimer County Jail was initially built, it was created to last roughly 30 years — which is a point we’ve already hit and blown past. The jail was also not made to house the number of inmates that are currently there. The proposed Behavioral Health Center could help with those numbers, particularly in regard to those who have mental health issues or addictions. However the Behavioral Health Center isn’t likely to provide enough help to relieve the strain on the jail. Soon, determinations will also need to be made about repairing versus upgrading the jail.
This concern is one related to both the jail and the Behavioral Health Center. Currently, transient/homeless inmates make up roughly a third of the jail’s inmates — many of whom were jailed for reasons related to mental or behavioral health issues. The increased number of transient/homeless in Larimer County calls for action to be taken to help those individuals and the citizens of Larimer County.
These are some of the most prevalent concerns faced by the Board of Larimer County Commissioners currently, and many of these concerns are going to show up on this fall’s election ballot in some form. Connect with the team here at Sean Dougherty for Larimer County Commissioner to learn more about the various issues affecting our community, what to know before the November election, and how you can make your opinions heard. Be sure to stay tuned to our blog in the coming weeks as we dig further into many of the issues at hand to help you prepare for the November elections.
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