Boulder County Commissioner Levy reports on Opioid funds, emergency rescue, housing
==OPIOID LITIGATION SETTLEMENT FUNDS – Boulder County==
I wanted to share the initial funding decisions for the first $1.8 million in Opioid Litigation Settlement Funds. Boulder County is one of 19 regional Opioid Councils in Colorado with the responsibility to determine what to fund with our region’s allocation of settlement funds. All the municipalities in Boulder County agreed to contribute their share of settlement funds to a regional council so we could fund projects across the county. Over the 18-year timeframe for distribution of funds, Boulder County is estimated to receive over $17 million, with more coming in as cases are settled. The projects funded from the first tranche, additional information about the process and recordings of our meetings can all be found here.
==Voter-approved Sales Tax: EMERGENCY RESCUE==
I promised more information about how the voter-approved sales tax for emergency rescue services would be spend. Aside from the fact that the proceeds from the first five years of the sales tax will help build a new training and equipment building for Rocky Mountain Rescue Group and fund ambulance service for rural mountain areas, I can’t yet give you any more details. We envision making a portion of the funds available to mountain and rural fire departments for equipment and training expenses but the governance structure for doing that is still being worked out. I’ll update you when i can.
The last unfinished business from February is, alas, still unfinished. In Governor Polis’s State of the State address in January, he outlined an ambitious and far-reaching plan to change control over land use and housing to remove aspects of local authority in order to increase supply.
Colorado has very weak statewide policy on housing and land use because there is such a strong tradition of local control. The legislative session is more than half over and we still haven’t seen the governor’s proposals released in legislation. Concerns that have surfaced with the concepts that have been discussed include the potential for more sprawl if additional housing units are allowed in unincorporated areas of the county, particularly when they would be served by wells and septic systems, gentrification and displacement if single-family lots are mandated to allow duplexes, tri-plexes and ADU’s, as well as increased burden on infrastructure if density is automatically increased without a commensurate investment in infrastructure.
Among the provisions I would like to see in legislation is a requirement that housing needs to be addressed along side economic development incentives so that additional people are not being wooed to areas that don’t have enough housing. I would like to see annexation of “greenfields” be required to include mixed-use development and a high percentage of permanently affordable housing. I would also like to see funding for transit and multi-modal transportation along side additional funds for affordable housing so that new residents are not dependent on single-occupancy vehicles.
………..Claire Levy, Boulder County Commissioner 3/13/23