Gov. Owens to visit Haven | SteamboatToday.com

Gov. Owens to visit Haven

Tamera Manzanares

Gov. Bill Owens is taking Visiting Nurse Association officials up on their offer to visit The Haven Assisted Living Center in Hayden.

Owens’ staff recently notified VNA he would hold a meeting at The Haven on Thursday to discuss why referendums C and D are important to elderly residents in rural areas.

The meeting is open to the public.

“He’s very worried that if C and D don’t pass, there could be very adverse impacts to the elderly,” VNA executive director Sue Birch said, adding that further budget cuts could affect property tax benefits and senior services such as Meals on Wheels.

While raising money to acquire The Haven, VNA officials invited Owens to see the center and learn more about plans to improve care for all seniors through Haven-based programs and facilities.

The VNA recently reached its fundraising goal to purchase The Haven. The acquisition should close by the end of next week, Birch said.

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Earlier this year, Owens made the final decision to grant VNA $500,000 in Energy and Mineral Impact funds to help pay for an expansion to The Haven that will include a new community center and kitchen improvements.

The addition will allow The Haven to host education and other programs that will help integrate seniors with other members of the community.

Owens plans to discuss how the state’s ability to fund such efforts will hinge on voters passing referendums C and D, said Mike Beasley, executive director of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.

Referendum C would ease spending limits for five years by allowing the state to keep revenues that otherwise would be returned to taxpayers based on the Taxpayers Bill of Rights.

Referendum D would dedicate some of that money to road projects, school infrastructure and pensions for firefighters and police officers.

One of Gov. Owens’ primary concerns is increasing health care costs and their effects on rural communities, said Beasley, who recommended the governor award the VNA the grant.

Several years go, Owens created the Rural Health Care Initiative, which helps fund infrastructure, construction and equipment costs in rural health care facilities, Beasley said.

— To reach Tamera Manzanares, call 871-4204 or e-mail tmanzanares@steamboatpilot.com

What: Gov. Bill Owens will discuss referendums C and D, and elderly services

When: 2:15 p.m. Thursday

Where: The Haven Assisted Living Center in Hayden