Letter: Backs county nursing homeDuring the Aug. 16 St. Croix County Board meeting, considerable discussion took place regarding the county nursing home referendum question to be included on the Nov. 4 ballot.
By: Buzz Marzolf, Town of Troy, Hudson Star-Observer
During the Aug. 16 St. Croix County Board meeting, considerable discussion took place regarding the county nursing home referendum question to be included on the Nov. 4 ballot.
The wording of that question, chosen by an ad hoc committee assigned to the task, was presented as: “Should St. Croix County continue to operate a public nursing home if property tax dollars are needed to fund its operation?”
In his recent letter, Buck Malick indicated he thought the wording of this question could have been better. His reasons, many of which were also stated at the Aug. 19 County Board meeting, included:
“The question does not address how long the county should operate a nursing home: Until the subsidy exceeds $2 million per year? Until the youngest current patient leaves? Until this new building wears out? Until the most junior employee retires? Perpetually?”
Malick’s letter concludes, “Some supervisors wanted the question to indicate that [the] property tax levy is not the only source of funds for operation.”
How many of the electorate are aware that our property taxes are not the only source of funding for our county nursing home? As indicated in my August letter to the editor, the funding for our nursing home does not come from property tax dollars alone. A handout containing the following information was distributed at the Sept. 10 Health and Human Services meeting:
St. Croix Health Center Operating revenue (July 2008):
Private pay, $412,833.75;
All other sources, $128,643.58;
Outstanding [anticipated] revenues, $428,153; and
County allocations (tax levy dollars), $151,585.
Total revenues — $3,163,454.64.
Because the quotient obtained when $151,585 is divided by $3,163,454.64 is just 4.8 percent.
I believe it is therefore very misleading for the referendum question to ask, “Should St. Croix County continue to operate a public nursing home if property tax dollars are needed to fund its operation?” when in July of this year, for example, tax levy dollars represented only 4.8 percent of all nursing home revenues.
It is for this reason I believe the electorate of our county would have been better served had the referendum question included the word
“partially” as a quantifying adverb preceding the word “fund.”
Please understand: the referendum question deals with just one issue. Should our county continue to operate a public nursing home if property tax dollars are needed to partially fund its operation? To cloud that issue with remarks such as those made by Mr. Malick is specious obfuscation at its best and spurious misinformation at its worst.
Let’s deal with just one issue at a time: Do we or do we not want to continue to partially fund our county nursing home with our property tax dollars?
To answer this question in the fairest, most informed way, please log onto the Friends of the St. Croix County Nursing Home Web site, stcroixhome.org, and then vote yes on Nov. 4.
St. Croix County Board member, District 18
Town of Troy