By Candace Jones
Recently, the board of the San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) recommended the SJBPH be disbanded. Press reports indicate the Commissioners of Archuleta and La Plata Counties will have to act on the board report, deciding if they will dissolve or continue the joint health district.
The statutory responsibilities of health districts are substantial. Colorado law empowers and requires counties to administer and enforce public health, sanitation, vital statistics, and other laws that make communities healthy and desirable places to live, work, and visit.
Given the significance of this issue to all Archuleta residents, the Commissioners should take formal steps to inform the public about the circumstances that have brought us to this juncture. The BoCC should schedule public hearings at which the Commissioners:
- Report to the public on the background of complaints, criticisms, or concerns that led you to study a break from the SJBPH;
- Hear from the public their reactions to recent news and their experiences with the SJBPH;
- Provide representatives of the SJBPH an opportunity to present their report regarding the future of the health district; and
- Respond to the public's questions about your immediate next steps and present a timely path forward, particularly what you intend to do if the LaPlata County Commissioners vote to leave the SJBPH.
Public hearings on this matter should be scheduled at times reasonable for working people in the county to attend - evenings or weekends.
The Pagosa Sun reported that the SJBPH could begin the unwinding process in July and complete it within a year. If that's the path Archuleta County faces, then the Archuleta County Democratic Party Central Committee (ACDPCC) urges the BoCC to involve Archuleta residents as quickly and effectively as possible to minimize the adverse consequences of a split.
For more information please contact Carl Young, ACDP Chair, at dems.archuleta.org or (970) 444-2021.