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Letter- Argues for county home

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Dear Editor,

I take issue with the article, "Supervisors renew call to close county nursing home." Operational expenses for the home now include building depreciation of $150,735. Depreciation occurs as an operational expense to reduce taxes for profit-making entities. In previous budgets, depreciation has not been included because the nursing home is tax exempt. Subtracting this depreciation, the deficit would be $483,804, not $634,559, for 2012. The board reduced the maximum number of beds to 50. Even though personnel costs were cut $550,000 last year, fixed costs still remain the same. With a 50 bed reduced revenue, it's much more difficult to offset fixed costs. Prospective residents have been turned away for various reasons. Also people are naturally discouraged to place their loved one in a home programmed for failure.

$228,237 in facility improvements has been known about and waived for several years, pending past plans to build a new nursing home. The $235,790 mentioned is an internal accounting estimate of IT, Finance and Administrative costs allocated. It is uncertain of there has ever been a chargeback for actual hours spent, included in previous budgets for IT, Finance and Administrative costs. Normally government run homes receive Intergovernmental Transfer Funds. Receiving $489,659 in Federal, ITGF funds is not to keep this particular home afloat. Nor is the deficit of $483,804 and the onetime charge of $228,237 in mandated facility improvements a sizable portion of the overall budget. The total county budget was $93,000,000 several years ago, $83,000,000 in 2011, and $70,000,000 in 2012. The county portion of the real estate tax levy has actually decreased.

If the home is closed, 66 percent of the residents are on Medicaid. That is 36 out of 55. If half cannot be placed in a private facility for reasons other than being on Medicaid, the county may have to pick up the cost. I've checked around. $215 is the average daily rate in private homes. 18 residents X $215 X 365 days is $1,412,550 per year, which is much more costly than keeping the county home.

I would have to have a heart of stone to want the county home closed. I would wager the two out of three people, who voted to keep it, feel the same way. Let your county supervisor know what you think via this contact link. http://www.co.saint-croix.wi.us/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={0AC1C9F5-9147-41D9-91C6-AD62C9CD4617} or come to the next Health and Human Services meeting

Suzanne Van Mele, Hudson

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