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Crawford okays letter to residents on tax increase

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At the Sept. 7 public meeting, Crawford trustees approved a letter regarding the proposed mill levy increase to be sent to all in-town property owners. A ballot question asking voters to approve a 5-mill increase to 7.240 mills will be on the ballot for the Nov. 8 general election.

"Our decline in our revenues is going to be quite a bit more" than originally anticipated, said Mayor Wanda Gofforth. The letter explains how the 1994 Tabor Act resulted in a reduced mill levy since 1995 from 7.42 mills to today's 2.42 mills. The town cannot increase the mill levy without an election.

"The increase in our mill levy will help us," said Gofforth, "but it certainly will not cover this loss."

Trustees also approved an invitation to a public meeting with Delta County Assessor Debbie Griffith regarding the proposed increase on Wednesday, Oct. 19, which will also be mailed out to citizens.

A citizen asked if there was a way to change the meeting date, as it coincides with the third presidential debate. "I don't think so," said Gofforth, noting that it's the last debate. Ballots are scheduled to be mailed on Oct. 17, added Gofforth, urging people to record the debate. "So we're going to go ahead with it."

Trustees indicated they don't want the date changed due to the debate.

Trustees also unanimously approved an application for renewal of the liquor license for the Boardwalk and passed a motion to change the payroll cycle from monthly to the first and 15th of each month, beginning January 2017.

Dave Knutson gave a brief presentation on A Little Help North Fork Valley. The program began about 14 months ago with a meeting of local baby boomers, said Knutson. They realized they are aging and don't have a lot of support in the area and were also concerned about their friends and neighbors who are aging and may need support. A series of meetings in North Fork area communities considered the concept of having volunteers provide "a little help" to seniors who want to remain in their homes but need assistance with various tasks that become more difficult with age and can result in people having to leave their homes.

They realized it could take up to two years to create the infrastructure for such a program, he said. About that time, one of the group members was researching a good name for the group when she came upon "A Little Help," a Denver-based nonprofit doing exactly what they were trying to accomplish. Because they had done a great deal of research on demographics, cost and other details, ALH's executive director visited, and about a month ago they signed a memorandum of understanding. They are now looking to launch the program in October. They started a pilot program with about 20 volunteers and already have signed up eight members.

Crawford resident and ALH member Larry Robnick explained that ALH provides services to keep people in their homes for a longer period of time. Services might include trips to the doctor or grocery store, yard work, window cleaning, and help with cleaning out the garage. If these services aren't available at an affordable rate, it can "prevent somebody from staying in their home. It becomes unsafe," Robnick said.

They do not provide care services and are striving to "not reinvent the wheel," by not providing those and other services available through organizations such as Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) and other organizations.

"We just wanted to make Crawford aware that we are here," said Knutson.

With about 80 percent of the program running on donations, the group is actively fundraising and has raised $7,000 in the last few weeks. The goal is $20,000. Membership is $225 per year for individuals and $250 for households, regardless of age. The pilot program offers 90 days of service for $25, said Knutson.

ALH is currently seeking new volunteers to help with outreach, event planning and provision of services, as well as senior members. They are also planning a North Fork Valley Service Day sometime in October. For details, please contact the office at 527-3482, email info@alittlehelp.org, or visit www.alittlehelp.org/locations/nfv/.

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North Fork
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Crawford, mill levy
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