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Commissioner Rosier addresses Chamber breakfast

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .

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County Commissioner Don Rosier gave a presentation to about 45 members of the Evergreen Area Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, January 27, 2016.  The breakfast event was held at Suzi's at The Place on Meadow Drive.

Rosier represents District #3, which includes the largest part of Jefferson County, almost entirely unincorporated portions of the county, including Evergreen and Conifer.

Rosier addressed the budget challenges facing Jeffco, with the increasing number of mandated State and Federal services near the top of his list, second only to the increase in demand for public assistance with food and housing.

Property taxes make up nearly 51 percent of the county budget with sales taxes adding another 11.5 percent.  Intergovernmental agreements (state and federal) make up 17.6 percent.  Details of the entire budget, line by line, are available at 222.jeffco.us.

Salaries and benefits make up 52.8% of the budget, considered low compared to other counties.  The lower pay scale has contributed to a problem of employee retention, another item on the list of challenges for 2016.

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Fire District fiscal concerns and recommendations

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .

In November, a community task force pulled together by the Evergreen Fire Department began meeting to study and make recommendations to the district board about significant financial concerns impacting the district.

According to Fire Chief Mike Weege, the final meeting in January 2016 was also the District Board meeting.  "There was a lot of discussion again about expanding the capability of EMS (Emergency Medical Services) to include the upcoming Community Paramedicine.  There is legislation in the works that would define Community Paramedicine and put it under the control of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

"The District Board felt there are too many moving parts and too many unknowns about the future of pre-hospital care to support dividing the fire department by breaking off EMS."

The task force did support the fire department's need for additional funding, Weege reported.

Overview of revenue shortfalls: 

  • Dramatic decrease in property taxes (2011-2015)
  • EMS billing as a result of
    • No-fault auto insurance (shifting medical coverage from auto insurance to a person's healthcare policy)
    • Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (Medicare assignment rule phased in over 4 years, reducing from 80% to 50% to 30% to 0)
    • Government Sequestration in 2013 (loss of 6% of the total reimbursement of Medicare over 2 years; plus decreases and expiration of rural bonuses)
    • The Affordable Care Act (Medicare and Medicaid are essentially unfunded mandates
      • in Evergreen 68% of EMS patients are 60 or older and Medicaid patients have increased 530% in past 2 years
      • mandated write-offs were projected to be $510,000 in 2015, approximately 1/3 of what was invoiced)
    • Strategic Planning focusing on wildfire protection and prevention 
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Meet Sharon Smith

Written by Anne Vickstrom on .

Meet Sharon Smith and understand the meaning of collaboration.

Sharon has served as the Executive Director of Evergreen Christian Outreach (EChO) since 2009. She brought to the position incredible formal and experiential wisdom with her in psychology, criminal justice, crime prevention, healthcare, security, theology, education, domestic abuse and counseling. “I knew that the biggest thing I could bring to EChO is my enthusiasm to collaborate,” she said.

She grew up in Riverside, New Jersey where she “followed her heart” by studying psychology, criminal justice and crime prevention, pursuing a job in national crime prevention. “Do you remember McGruff - Take a bite out of crime?” She asked it as if she were mentioning an old friend.

Sharon has two daughters who made the trek to Colorado with her. Here, she also has her horses. “Oh, I love spending time with them.” When she finds time to tend them, is another question.

When she and the girls moved to Colorado, she worked in Hospital Shared Services that served as investigators for hospitals. “We dealt with issues in theft, narcotics, assessment of security. It was a varied workload.” Security work also took her to U.S. West, Denver International Airport, museums and office buildings.