LETTER: County offices should remain in NR
To the Editor:
With the recent auction of county land in New Richmond, there have been veiled references in the local papers to razing the St. Croix County Health and Human Services buildings in New Richmond and moving this department to Hudson. Why the secrecy? Why the hurry?
Has anyone asked for input from the people who utilize the many services within this department? I'm guessing that there would be a resounding push to keep things right where they're at. Why? It would save money.
I'm assuming that the county supervisors believe that this move makes financial sense. What looks good on paper may be anything but good for the people of this county. The people who have contact with the Department of Health and Human Services are the individuals with the greatest financial needs in this county.
Hudson is at the "rich" far western edge of St. Croix County. The further you travel away from it, north and east, the more poverty you encounter. At $4 a gallon, it would cost an individual about $15 for a round trip from Glenwood City to check in with Economic Assistance to get food stamps or to receive "low cost" immunizations from Public Health.
Only 25 percent of the persons utilizing Behavioral Health Services live within 10 miles of Hudson. About 50% live within 10 miles of New Richmond with the other 25 percent living within 10 miles of Baldwin. (HHS, 2010).
People tend to live where their medical services are located when money is limited. They can't afford the rents in Hudson nor would find the community of Hudson welcoming to an influx of low-income persons with disabilities.
Doesn't it make sense for a few county employees to drive to meetings in Hudson rather than thousands of people for all their economic support, mental health services and public health needs? The county board needs to do some more homework and openly publicize their efforts and research before committing to this move.
Start now. Think outside the obvious. Maybe the Aging and Disabilities Resources Center should relocate to New Richmond. I shouldn't have to look at an inside page of the Hudson Star Observer to discover something so important to the City of New Richmond and all low income, struggling persons in St. Croix County.