ELECTION: Larimer approves mental-health tax on 2nd try

Larimer County voters turned out in favor of a measure to fund a plan to combat mental-health issues in the county. With 153,458 votes counted as of 11:30 p.m., the measure was passing with 61.29 percent of the vote in favor.

Issue 1A on the ballot will assess a 0.25 percent sales tax for 20 years to fund a mental-health master plan. The plan contains several elements, chief among them construction and operation of a regional mental-health treatment facility to be built at Trilby Road and South Taft Hill Road. The center would be where residential substance-abuse treatment would occur, as well as residential treatment for people with mental-health disorders.

Another major aspect of the master plan would be to expand services across the county — not just at the proposed new structure.

Issue 1A was the second attempt to fund mental-health services in the county, where suicides have doubled since 2009 and are at twice the national rate. The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Alliance of Larimer County reported that one in five adults, or 53,800 people, have a mental illness at some level. Of those, 12,300 are considered serious mental illnesses.

Proponents of the measure said that mental-health issues are a factor in the homelessness problem in the county as well as a factor in jail overcrowding.

The mental-health project master plan reported that every dollar spent on addiction treatment reduces drug crime and criminal justice costs by $4 to $7. When emergency-room costs, ambulance costs and other such expenses are considered, the savings can be $12 for every $1 spent on mental-health treatment.

A Behavioral Health Policy Council, yet to be appointed, will set priorities for use of the tax revenue.

Larimer County voters turned out in favor of a measure to fund a plan to combat mental-health issues in the county. With 153,458 votes counted as of 11:30 p.m., the measure was passing with 61.29 percent of the vote in favor.

Issue 1A on the ballot will assess a 0.25 percent sales tax for 20 years to fund a mental-health master plan. The plan contains several elements, chief among them construction and operation of a regional mental-health treatment facility to be built at Trilby Road and South Taft Hill Road. The center would be where residential substance-abuse treatment would occur, as well as residential treatment for people with mental-health disorders.

Another major aspect of the master plan would be to expand services across the county — not just at the proposed new structure.

Issue 1A was the second attempt to fund mental-health services in the county, where suicides have doubled since 2009 and are at twice the national rate. The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Alliance of Larimer County reported that one in five adults, or 53,800 people, have a mental illness at some level. Of those, 12,300 are considered serious mental illnesses.

Proponents of the measure said that mental-health issues are a factor in the homelessness problem in the county as well as a factor in jail overcrowding.

The mental-health project master plan reported that every dollar spent on addiction treatment reduces drug crime and criminal justice costs by $4 to $7. When emergency-room costs, ambulance costs and other such expenses are…