St. Croix voters will decide fate of nursing homeVoters will be asked once again to vote on a referendum concerning financing of the St. Croix County Nursing Home in New Richmond.
By: Jon Echternacht , River Falls Journal
Voters will be asked once again to vote on a referendum concerning financing of the St. Croix County Nursing Home in New Richmond.
The board of supervisors voted to place the resolution on the April 3 ballot.
The referendum question will ask for continuing tax levy dollars to fund direct operations to the tune of $333,002.
A majority of votes in favor of the referendum on the April 3 ballot would approve the levy funds.
If the referendum fails, it means citizens don’t want the county to continue operating the nursing home if property tax dollars are needed.
A similar question was approved by voters in Nov. 4, 2008, ballot by a 2 -1 margin.
“I like this question better than the one in 2008 because it states specific levy support,” said Supervisor Buck Malick
“Most likely the new resolution will pass,” said Supervisor Sharon Norton-Bauman, “if the (citizens) really want a binding resolution stating X number of dollars for X number of years.”
Supervisor Steve Hermsen said, “A number of things have been let slide because of the number of levy dollars we have devoted to the nursing home. It’s asking the board to give levy dollars when we have already voted not to give levy dollars.”
“A binding resolution is more appropriate,” said Supervisor William Peavey. However, he said he would not be in favor of a referendum today but for a binding referendum in the future when a new board is in place after the April 3 election.
As the discussion was pulled in from straying off course by Board Chair Daryl Standafer, Norton-Bauman introduced an amendment that would add “in New Richmond” to every reference to the nursing home in the referendum.
Her amendment passed on an 18-0 vote. The referendum passed 11-7 with Peavey, Hermsen, Norton-Bauman, Standafer, Lorin Sather, Robert Shearer and Linda Luckey voting against.
County Administrator Pat Thompson said work on a strategic plan that includes a pay for performance system is progressing. “Hopefully by mid-year 2012 we will have a system in place for evaluation of all employees and compensation based on performance,” he said.
He said that future vacant position would be filled “based on true need, not just automatically filled.”
Thompson said he would like to work with the new board following the election in April to develop an orientation program for new supervisors taking office.