Weather Forecast


St. Croix hopes to cut pay for nursing home workers

St. Croix County Board members voted unanimously last week to renegotiate wages and fringe benefits with Health Center workers in an effort to cut costs.

Board Chairman Daryl Standafer warned supervisors to be careful their comments didn't step into the area of negotiations, and the resolution was adopted without discussion May 3.

"Be advised this is not a bargaining session," said Standafer. "Bargaining must be done in closed session."

A recent review by LarsonAllen Accounting Firm shows that average wages and benefits at the St. Croix Health Center nursing home are higher than those at other comparable government-run facilities.

The resolution adopted May 3 noted that the Health and Human Services Board has reviewed strategic and business plans for the future operation of the center and all of the multiple scenarios in the most recent business plan require property-tax funding beyond the year 2015.

Last month HHS board members hoped for, but did not get, a feel for whether a majority of county board members want to stay in the nursing home business. In the past a number of supervisors have suggested the county get out of the business because the current facility requires tax funding to continue operations.

In April Supervisor Roger Larson, Star Prairie, said if the current facility is to remain as is, wage and benefit concessions would have to total more than 15 percent to take the nursing home off the county tax levy.

He predicted employees won't give that level of concessions.

Larson said the only way to make the nursing home a viable business is to build a more efficient complex soon.

For the complete story, see this week's New Richmond News.