LETTER: Financial decisions make no sense
To the Editor:
County Administrator Pat Thompson received a $30,000 per year raise to $165,000 per year plus bonuses while significantly cutting wages of employees and giving the following performance:
He convinced board supervisors that $10,000 per acre or $5 million from sale of county land would be realized. No appraisal needed, no minimum bid required, a farm auctioneer from Ellsworth (paid $158,000) would achieve maximum value for the farmland, including 180 acres of commercial property, for St. Croix County taxpayers -- "Trust Me." Is it a surprise that the actual sales price was $3.5 million or 36 percent below his sales pitch value? Also, taxpayers have now given up $75,000 annually in farm rental income or $750,000 over the next 10 years.
The 180 acres of taxpayer-owned commercial property was fire sold at $5,000-$7,000/acre (less than farmland value) compared to $40,000/acre for commercial property like the Roberts truck stop. Taxpayers potentially gave away $7.2 million in commercial land for $1.2 million or at 16 percent of commercial value!
Thompson cut wages in the New Richmond area at the county nursing home by $700,000/year, reduced number of people we can care for at the home from 72 to 50, and still shows the same historical operating loss at near $800,000. The decision to cut patients to 50 reduced revenue for the home by $1 million in 2012.
Thompson will demolish the existing HHS building, disperse 130 HHS people (showing no concern about what this means to people of St. Croix County requiring services and the impact on employees and New Richmond community), pay relocation costs of $750,000, and add annual leased space rental cost of $600,000-$1,200,000 to our county budget every year thereafter until the administrator tells the board the future location of HHS (currently unknown) -- "Trust Me."
Please call our county representatives and voice your opinion.
Norm and Shirley Matzek