Letter: Vote ‘yes’ for home
April 3, is just around the corner. Among the items on which you will be asked to vote is the referendum question: “Should St. Croix County continue to operate the St. Croix County Nursing Home in New Richmond if property tax dollars are needed to partially fund its operation?”
Just how much will that partial levy support be? Approximately 1.2 percent of $27,847,925, or $333,002 for the current budget year.
Please note: the nursing home’s draw on the levy in 2008, when — a similar referendum question was on the ballot — was in the vicinity of $793,090. At that time citizens in every single one of our county’s 40 reporting units voted — by no less than a 2:1 margin — to continue supporting with property tax dollars our Five-Star rated nursing home facility. The most recently projected levy draw ($333,002) needed to partially support our county run Nursing Home, will be less than half of what it was in 2008.
In out-of-pocket dollars, try this: divide the $333,002.00 by 46,411 (the number of real estate tax parcels which pay into the county levy); next, divide that quotient by 58 (the average resident census in our Nursing Home during the month of February, 2012); finally, divide that quotient by 365 days. This amount, then — $ 0.0003389 — is an approximation of what it will cost to care for one nursing home resident per day during the current fiscal year.
Is it asking too much to make that kind of sacrifice to help those in our nursing home who are no longer able to help themselves?
In conclusion, if we factor in the 202 jobs and attendant economic impact of $12,000,000 associated with the operation of our county nursing home, it seems to make unequivocal sense to keep that facility open. Please vote yes!
Buzz Marzolf, Town of Troy
St. Croix County Board Supervisor 12 (outgoing)
Letter: Presents home info
I have served on the County Board for six years, and I am a candidate for the County Board in District 5. I have been Administration Committee chair the past two years. The Administration Committee presented a budget the past two years that did not levy the maximum allowed by the state. The County Board approved those budgets. We are aware of the difficult circumstances our taxpayers experience during this economic crisis, and have prepared budgets that are fiscally responsible to provide county services that taxpayers expect. In the process, St Croix County has attained an Aa1 bond rating from the rating agencies, which speaks clearly to our conservative financial planning.
The advisory referendum for the county nursing home issue is, in my opinion, misleading the voting public. The referendum is advisory and open-ended. There is no dollar limit associated with a yes vote — the budgeted amounts listed for 2012 are the planned expenditures for the nursing home. However, the actual amount spent in 2011 will be well over $1,000,000 (one million) dollars, far above the 2011 budgeted amount. It appears that the 2012 budgeted amount will not be sufficient to support the current nursing home operation also. The County Board is required to have a balanced budget. Every dollar spent is budgeted in various departments of the county. Therefore, with levy limits in place, levy support for the nursing home, which is not mandated, requires the board to reduce spending in other mandated departments. The sheriff’s patrol, highway maintenance operations, health department and emergency planning are mandated services. The nursing home serves five zip codes surrounding New Richmond. The mandated services listed serve all 80,000 residents of the county.
There are currently (March 12) 83 empty nursing home beds available in the county, not counting the approximately 100 beds available in the four hospitals. There are other nursing home options for the current 55 residents of the county home. If the voters, for whatever reason, want to continue operation of the county nursing home in New Richmond, they need to be aware that the county Board will be required to “borrow from Peter to pay Paul.” Other county departments will continue to be impacted by fewer dollars available to provide services. I ask for your vote as we face unprecedented revenue cuts. I believe I have been a voice of moderation and civility on the board.
Sharon Norton-Bauman, Hudson
Editor’s note: The writer is a candidate for Candidate District 5 St. Croix County Board of Supervisors.
Letter: Support home
It turns out there appears to be three types of elected custodians of the public trust. The Creators, The Caretakers, and The Undertakers.
The Creators are those with vision to look forward and plan for those that will come after them. The Caretakers will follow the guidance of the creators that preceded them and protect the future of the public assets. Unfortunately, side by side with the caretakers are The Undertakers. The Undertakers are short-sighted individuals that look at what has been made available to the public by those with a deeper understanding of the public good, and see it as a fast opportunity for quick profit, or personal political gain. Once these assets are disposed of, they can never be replaced, usually due to the unmanageably high cost of replacement in today’s market. Once disposed of, we have lost a gift of our future given to us by The Creators of the past.
For the last 11 years, there has been a movement afoot to transfer support of our St. Croix Nursing Home to private enterprise, each time stumbling when commitment to care for our counties indigent is brought up. No profit there.
The Boomers are aging, and the cost of care is rising. The promise of the 401k’s “Golden Years protection” is being viewed with jaundiced eye on after our recent history with the bankers and stockbrokers that were looking after our welfare. We need to be The Caretakers of our assets, and not fall under the spell of saving pennies, only to see our less fortunate go without dignified, affordable care. Any of us that have had parents become ill and pass on knows the fear of losing everything in the final days of their long hard worked lives.
I urge you to repeat the message that was apparently not strong enough in 2008 for our county leaders to hear when the majority of citizens in every precinct voted in support of for the St. Croix Nursing Home. Please resist the will of a small group of Undertakers in their attempt to destroy what has been given to us as a legacy.
Vote for the modest continued support of the St. Croix Nursing Home when you go to the polls on April 3 and hope that we can get the message across once and for all.
Howard Novotny, North Hudson
Editor’s note: The writer is a candidate for Candidate District 4 St. Croix County Board of Supervisors.