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Non-profit gets initial nod to take over home

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Christian Community Home of Hudson has been chosen as the preferred service provider as the St. Croix County Board looks to sell or rent out the county-owned facility in New Richmond.

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County Administrator Chuck Whiting announced March 20 that the proposal review committee made the decision Monday and "is initiating exclusive negotiations" with CCH.

The Wisconsin law firm of DeWitt Ross & Stevens will represent the county in negotiations.

Whiting declined to say how many businesses had submitted proposals. Earlier reports indicated that representatives of seven or eight companies attended initial information meetings.

"We're excited to work with the county and are happy to have been selected through the RFP process," said CCH administrator Dan Goodier. "Being selected as the preferred partner means that we have been selected for exclusive negotiating rights."

Goodier said the timetable is still unclear.

"I received a telephone call this morning (Tuesday), but at some point we will receive more specific instructions."

He said the county originally had expressed interest in having the transaction completed by July.

"That's not in stone, and I'm not sure if that timetable is still realistic," Goodier said. "We haven't invested a lot of time in gearing up for this, but now that we've been named as the preferred partner we will talk with county officials as quickly as possible."

Goodier said privatizing the home is a good thing for both people using the home and taxpayers.

"Our board (CCH board) has given a lot of thought to making this proposal, and we feel that since we are local and have roots in the county, we can provide the best care," Goodier said. "We feel that our mission extends throughout the county. We hope to have a plan that will get the people of New Richmond excited about the change."

While efforts have been made in the last few years to head the nursing home toward self-sufficiency, the property tax levy to support the facility has been running about $1.25 million a year. Some supervisors argue that the county-run home cannot be self-supporting because its personnel costs are too high.

The County Board voted last November to solicit proposals from private and nonprofit nursing homes or assisted-living businesses interested in buying, leasing or otherwise partnering with the county to operate the 72-bed skilled-care nursing home.

Whiting said the review team has met twice since the Feb. 15 application deadline.

Health and Human Services Director Fred Johnson said the review committee will meet again April 4 and expects to have a recommendation for the County Board during the third quarter of the year.

Proposal review committee members include Dr. Michael Kretz and County Board members Stan Krueger, Esther Wentz, Buck Malick, Gordon Awsumb, Tom Caflisch, Don Jordan and Daryl Standafer.

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