LETTER: It’s time to close the nursing homeI have been following the St. Croix Nursing Home issue for many years. It finally seems that there are some county supervisors that see the big picture and are taking a stand...
To the Editor:
I have been following the St. Croix Nursing Home issue for many years. It finally seems that there are some county supervisors that see the big picture and are taking a stand; the St. Croix County Nursing Home is again dependent on St. Croix County and its taxpayers to keep it operational and afloat, we again are being told there is a need for more money to be levied against all county real estate property owners to get the St. Croix County Nursing Home through yet another shortfall budget year and to keep it in operation.
Think about this:
Each letter that is written in support of the St. Croix County Nursing Home and many coming from Ms. Kim Dupre refers over and over to the “Five Star Patient Care” given at the St. Croix County Nursing Home. That is all well and good; however, “patient care” is not and never has been disrupted nor has it been the issue at hand. Bluntly, the issue is money and profitability. We all are aware of the fact the St. Croix County Nursing Home continues year after year to run in the red.
Do taxpayers want the St. Croix County supervisors to continue to levy monies against property to continue to fund a failing and an unsustainable business? Do taxpayers feel it feasible and fiscally sound for the St. Croix County supervisors to keep trying to find ways to plug the dike that has burst at the St. Croix County Nursing Home at the cost of other county departments and adding more burden to taxpayers of St. Croix County every year?
The 2/3 vote at the last referendum and the referendum a few years ago is not completely accurate because approximately only 1/3 of the people residing in St. Croix County own real estate and pay real taxes to St. Croix County, where the nursing home levy comes from. Individuals voted for a very confusingly worded referendum both times and many of those voters do not pay real estate taxes. You also need to remember this was/is a non-binding referendum, so the supervisors do have the right to make the choice to get out of the nursing home business.
I’m not anti-nursing home, I am just opposed to having to pay for the county nursing home when there are many private nursing homes in St. Croix County that pay property taxes back to St. Croix County and these nursing homes also provide “Five Star Patient Care.”
There have been numerous audits and consultations done on the nursing home and each time those reports have come back with a negative picture and with dismal financials indicating a failing business. This nursing home issue just keeps costing money in many ways.
I am wondering how any one of the county supervisors after seeing these grim audits and hearing such poor financial data could possibly vote to build a new facility? Supervisors supporting the building of a new facility would be strapping an ever greater burden on the backs of the taxpayers of St. Croix County. We also have seen that the cost cutting measures of downsizing the number of beds and wage negotiations has not been the answer nor have these stark measures solved the operational money woes of the St. Croix County Nursing Home.
I respect Supervisors Tom Hawksford, Tim Hood, Fred Yore and Kris Kilber who are thinking realistically and responsibly by casting their vote to close the county nursing home. It is very clear to me that Supervisors Hawksford, Hood, Yore and Kilber are not taking this issue lightly and yes, this is a gut wrenching and emotionally draining decision.