2018: A Look Ahead – Commissioner Steve Johnson

Commissioner Steve Johnson

What’s your New Year’s Resolution? January is a time to look back on the old and look forward to the new. At Larimer County government, we take this opportunity to focus on our goals for 2018 and what we hope to achieve in the coming year.

Increased access to mental health services remains at the top of our agenda. The need is great with one in five struggling with a mental health issue, and Northern Colorado experiencing among the highest suicide rate, and the tragedy of teen suicides in every one of our communities. We have the very best physical health care in the nation but to be a great community we must have excellent mental health options for all our residents as well.

We are working with stakeholders in every part of the county to develop a better strategy to present to voters. Our local businesses, schools, families, and our criminal justice system will all continue to bear the cost of unmet mental health needs in the community if we don’t fill the gaps that currently exist. The good news is working together, we can.

Transportation is critical to the activities of our daily lives and the economic vitality of our region. We continue to make improvements to I-25 because of the unprecedented level of funding cooperation between all local governments in Northern Colorado. By working together, we are seeing work right now on increasing the capacity and safety of our interstate, improvements that would not have happened for decades into the future without this collaboration.

Affordable housing is one of the most pressing challenges facing our area. Whether you are a renter looking for a place to live, a business seeking to attract employees who can afford to live here, or just looking for a home to buy, you know housing prices are increasingly out of reach. Larimer County is continuing to work with a broad group of stakeholders to develop strategies to help make housing more attainable.

For the first time ever, Larimer County is working on a Facilities and Capital Improvements Master Plan to maintain, improve, and maximize the value of all of our facilities to our citizens. There are several key parts of that effort. We are beginning the process of implementing the Master Plan for the Ranch, our fairgrounds, which the voters funded last November with the extension of the ranch sales tax. The Loveland County Building, which is taking shape and will be occupied later this year, will dramatically improve county services in the south half of our county. Finally, we operate the only jail in our county, and it is over capacity as our population has grown. We’re looking for ways to expand that facility in a wise and efficient manner and employ strategies to provide appropriate alternative sentencing measures.

All of us at Larimer County wish you a Happy New Year and are honored to do our part in making our communities even better places to be.

Larimer County Commissioner Steve Johnson is one of three Commissioners representing District 2 in Larimer County

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