Letter: Reasons for NOOn April 3 St Croix County voters are asked to vote on a referendum asking if we should continue to operate the county nursing home if property tax dollars are needed to partially fund its operation.
By: Tom Irwin, Hudson, River Falls Journal
On April 3 St Croix County voters are asked to vote on a referendum asking if we should continue to operate the county nursing home if property tax dollars are needed to partially fund its operation.
In its resolution approving placing the referendum on the ballot, the Health and Human Services Board states: “There are no Wisconsin Statutes that mandate a county must own or operate a nursing home.”
The resolution goes on to say that $333,002 of tax levy support is budgeted for direct operations in 2012 and also states that “continued county tax levy dollars will be needed to partially fund direct operations in future county budgets.”
Why does St. Croix County need to own and operate a nursing home that has required a considerable subsidy by the county taxpayers each year?
At one time the county nursing home may have been the only option for care. However, many other options now exist.
There are eight privately run nursing homes in the county as well as several assisted living facilities. Over half of the counties in Wisconsin do not operate a government-run facility.
The St. Croix County nursing home has been nearly sold three times to private entities that intended to continue operation of the nursing home.
The differences: The county government would be out of the nursing-home business, the private sector would take over, and the taxpayers would be off the hook.
The county home continually needs subsidies to fund its operation while the private sector homes manage to operate on their own.
Based on my experience as a former member of the Health and Human Services Board, I urge you to vote “No” on this referendum.