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It's unanimous: La Plata, Archuleta Counties vote to dissolve San Juan Basin Public Health

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Sarah Flower
La Plata and Archuleta Counties will no longer share a health department, following a recent vote.

After 74 years of sharing a public health department, Archuleta and La Plata Counties voted on Tuesday to unanimously dissolve San Juan Basin Public Health Department. Philosophical differences divided the two counties during the COVID-19 pandemic. In April of 2021, Archuleta County Commissioners initiated the dissolution of the health district.

La Plata County Commissioner Marsha Porter-Norton assured residents that the district will be thoughtful about dismantling.

“We’re not tearing something down, we’re taking something that is excellent and making it even better,” said Porter-Norton in a commissioners meeting.

Both counties will need to decide their next move. La Plata county officials appear to be planning to create their own public health department. It’s unknown if Archuleta County will create their own or join a neighboring health district. Archuleta County Commissioner Ronnie Maez said that whatever decision is made will be difficult.

“You have to make a decision at some point in time and the thing is, whatever decision you make you have to suffer the outcome and move forward with progress.” Maez said.

Colorado law states that the district has a year to dissolve. County officials gave the final deadline of December 31, 2023.

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