Horizons Specialized Services clients Misty Garcia, left, and Jeffrey Turner catch up on their reading and journal writing Tuesday at Bud Werner Memorial Library.

Photo by Tom Ross

Horizons Specialized Services clients Misty Garcia, left, and Jeffrey Turner catch up on their reading and journal writing Tuesday at Bud Werner Memorial Library.

Horizons discusses Steamboat apartment plan

Group that aids developmentally disabled adults plans housing

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— Horizons Specialized Services officials are optimistic that with a federal grant, they could build a new apartment building on Eighth Street next year and maintain sufficient reserves to get them through a tightening economy.

Horizons is providing services to 40 adults with developmental disabilities in the community as well as to children and their families.

“I’m so pleased to tell you that 32 of the 40 adults are employed,” Horizons Executive Director Susan Mizen told the Routt County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.

Mizen and Board President Bob Grove, along with several staff members, visited the commissioners with their financial audit and their outlook for the year ahead.

Horizons depends heavily on funds from the state, but also on a county property tax mill levy approved by voters in 2005 that is projected to generate $1.49 million this budget cycle. Although Mizen and Chief Financial Officer Amy “Emma” Bowers made an end-of-year presentation to the commissioners, Horizons is actually in the midst of fiscal year 2011, which ends in June.

Mizen told the commissioners that among other things, the mill levy has allowed Horizons to provide vocational and educational training to 23 of its adult clients.

“We have 10 people enrolled in special Colorado Mountain College classes in reading and basic skills,” Mizen said, and five more in other CMC classes, some with educational coaches.

Mizen acknowledged that Hor­­izons could be confronted with shrinking state revenues, and she and Bowers are expecting the impacts of reduced local property tax revenues in 2012.

Bowers told the commissioners that Horizons was able to carry forward $500,000 in reserves from fiscal 2010 and, combined with an anticipated budget surplus of $331,463 against total expenditures of $1.19 million in fiscal 2011, the nonprofit agency expects a surplus fund balance of $814,509 going into fiscal 2012.

Mizen said her organization just missed a $1-million-plus federal Department of Housing and Urban Development loan last year that would have enabled Horizons to build an apartment building for adults on land it owns on the west side of the 400 block of Eighth Street. She estimated that Horizons would spend an additional $300,000 on the project.

The intent is to provide an intermediary step for young adults who are ready to leave a Horizons group home but aren’t quite self-assured enough to transition into an independent-living apartment.

Horizons Adult Program Di­­rec­tor Tatum Heath said the six 580-square-foot apartments would have private entrances, small bedrooms, kitchen and dining areas and a bathroom. There would be a common kitchen and dining area as well as a laundry area.

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