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Nursing home proposal calls for county to pay subsidy

A proposal made public Wednesday would have St. Croix County taxpayers spending $2.75 million over five years to exit the nursing home business and help the non-profit Christian Community Home build a new 95-bed facility on county acreage near New Richmond.

A summary released Wednesday afternoon says that St. Croix County would pay Christian Community Homes of Hudson $2.75 million to take over the county's financially struggling nursing home.

In turn CCH would build a new 95-bed Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing home on county land in New Richmond.

The $2.75 million "subsidy" would be paid this way: $750,000 the first year; $600,000 the second year; $500,000 each in years three and four; and $400,000 the fifth year.

Over the past five years, the property tax levy to support the 72-bed nursing home has averaged nearly $1.2 million a year. Since it would cost the county more to operate the home itself than St. Croix will pay CCH and since the community will end up with a new nursing home, the proposal is good for the county, said one proposal review committee member as he left the room.

The proposal calls for CCH to rent 18.6 acres on the "county farm," north of County Road K and south and east of Hwy. 64. The lease term would be 99 years with annual payments of $1.

County Board Chairman Buck Malick said staff, a consultant and CCH will make presentations at next Tuesday's County Board meeting and county residents will be given an opportunity to offer comments that evening.

Malick said he anticipates the issue will come to a vote at the August County Board meeting, now set for 9 a.m. Aug. 7.

For continuing coverage of this story, read the print issues of the Hudson Star-Observer, the New Richmond News and the River Falls Journal.