A good reason to care about 1A | SummitDaily.com

A good reason to care about 1A

Summit County has many reasons to rejoice about the breakthrough announced Thursday that lays out a plan to build a new hospital to replace the Summit Medical Center.

The news speaks to a bright future where state-of-the-art health care will be available to consumers without them having to drive over Vail Pass or the Continental Divide to get it.

More than that, the news is timely. It is one more solid reason to vote for Referred Measure 1A on the county ballot Nov. 4.

Measure 1A will extend an existing property tax that will garner a set $1.6 million a year for the next 12 years. One of the four purposes for the money is to help build a new Community Care Clinic.

Part of the Board of County Commissioners’ deal with St. Anthony’s and a consortium of local doctors to provide land for a new hospital – and a new medical office building – is that space be provided for the Community Care Clinic.

Currently, the clinic is squeezed into the public health offices at the County Commons. Patient growth has been phenomenal for services priced according to income.

The clinic is an essential part of our community and its role will only grow greater. The rising cost of health insurance is forcing individuals to go without coverage or to buy plans with high deductibles.

Ever-rising costs are forcing businesses to trim or cut their health insurance benefit. Vail Resorts did just that this summer, throwing a number of individuals into the lurch of either going uninsured or underinsured in the private market. You can bet the Community Care Clinic will see the results of that decision walking through its doors.

One objection to Measure 1A is an alleged unknown about how the money would be spent – although we think the purposes are clear. The letter of intent helps add certainty for those who may be wavering.

The other three projects listed under Measure 1A are improved recycling facilities to divert trash from the landfill and extend its life, open space and local water storage.

The record on open space spending to date is an open book with chapters of success. The Summit Recycling Project and Summit County government are well into planning on how to intercept more recyclable materials at the landfill.

Water storage is the only element of 1A that has not reached a specific level of planning, but that’s OK, for now. We know that opportunity exists at the Old Dillon Reservoir to increase capacity and projects in the Upper Blue, including one at the McCain property just purchased by the town of Breckenridge, are under study.

Measure 1A deserves the community’s support.

Opinions published in this space are formulated by members of the Summit Daily News editorial board: Michael Bennett, Jim Pokrandt, Jason Starr, Rachel Toth, Reid Williams, Kim Nicoletti and Martha Lunsky.

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