Letter: Vote ‘yes’ on 1A to help fund mental health programs in Eagle County
My name is Joe Tomasic, and I have been a resident of Eagle County for 26 years. Anyone who knows me personally knows I would be the last person to advocate for any type of a tax increase; however, in my opinion voting yes on 1A is needed.
In the last 26 years, I have seen countless people become addicted, have issues with anxiety, loss, become suicidal; in the past year alone, I personally know of at least four people who died right here in Eagle County as a result of suicide and/or drug- and alcohol-related issues. We live in an incredible town, but this is a town that perpetuates the party mentality and takes a toll on many of the locals who have to work constantly to maintain a life here.
It is absolutely mind blowing that we have some of the best health care facilities to maintain our physical bodies but nothing to tune up our mental health. Voting yes on 1A will not raise tax to anyone but be a county tax on recreational marijuana only, the majority of which will be absorbed by the thousands of visitors to our town who are more than happy to pay it.
1A will immediately add mental health treatment counselors to area schools where there are currently none; add mental health counselors to the county jail, where 70 percent of the inmates are on psychotropic drugs, and increase the mental health walk-in clinic hours. Hours there are currently limited.
In Edwards, covering the Vail Valley, an integrated 24/7 mental health facility will be built. None of the dollars from this tax will go to build the building; rather, they will be used to operate the 24/7 walk-in clinic, six crisis and respite care stabilization beds and the social detox unit that will be co-located within the Mountain Family Health Centers future facility.
This facility will be focused on becoming sustainable through third-party billing for patients who can pay and other creative revenue-generating methods that are currently being used throughout our nation. This is not some bloated government program but a streamlined and efficient, well-thought-out approach to mental health.
As our community continues to grow, two things that need to be dealt with are our affordable housing problem and our mental/physical health, both related to our changing demographic of the people living here and moving here.
Right now, we have an opportunity to take care of at least one of these issues; don’t let it pass us by. Vote “yes” on 1A.