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County board postpones SCI resolution; will revisit the measure in August

A resolution to privatize St. Croix Industries stalled on the floor and was postponed until August following a wave of citizen response at the county board of supervisors meeting Tuesday night.

The move followed about an hour of public comment from some 21 citizens, all of whom supported the SCI program and its reputation for excellence over nearly four decades. Many had children in the program.

The proposed resolution developed because SCI was operating at a loss over the last two years. County records showed a $295,024 loss for 2012 and a shortfall of $92,000 for 2013 after some adjustments. Financial forecasts through 2016 projected a shortfall in excess of $1.6 million.

The Health and Human Services Board on May 6 recommended a resolution to take all necessary steps to turn SCI over to a private, non-profit provider.

The perceived speed at which the action came to the board concerned Supervisor Travis Schachtner, who immediately moved to table the resolution indefinitely, in effect killing the proposal. His motion

failed by a 14-3 margin.

Schachtner then moved to table any action on the resolution until the next regular board meeting scheduled for Aug. 6 which prompted a round of discussion from the board. In the end, Schachtner's motion passed by a slim 9-8 margin.

Schachtner, Richard Ottino, Roger Larson, Fred Horne, Ron Kiesler, Andy Brinkman, Joe Hurtgen, Duane Russett and William Peavey voted in favor of tabling the measure. Agnes Ring, Tim Hood, Daryl Standafer, Fred Yoerg, Buck Malick, Chris Kilber, Dave Ostness and David Peterson voted no.

Tom Hawksford, out of town on business, and Brian Hurtgen, suffering from an illness, were absent.