Paid Letters to the Editor

We welcome letters to the Editor, a chance for members of the community to comment on issues of concern to them. All letters must be original, not duplications of letters addressed to public officials or written by others. The views and opinions expressed are those of the letter writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication, its publishers, Editor, or staff.

To the Editor:
Last week, Lincoln County’s Board rejected voter choice regarding Pine Crest’s future. Credit goes to the nine members who listened to the 100 plus present in support of keeping Pine Crest, along with the hundreds of signatures, a multitude of phone calls and contacts, and voted for the referendum.
The referendum offered a brief overview of projected costs. One testimony calculated that the annual tax impact of $85.14 per $100,000 of equalized value works out to less than $8/month on a property of that equalized value.
Supervisor Calvin Callahan felt compelled to personally point out that he is not a “Pine Crest Killer,” but supports the nursing home. One can understand the confusion over his statement when Supervisor Callahan has consistently voted to sell Pine Crest and against a voter referendum.
The claim that supplemental State subsidies all went to Madison nursing homes and not to us because of Governor Evers is false. Lincoln County simply did not qualify for those funds because of an earlier County decision regarding projected deficits.
Certain Supervisors tried to muddy the issue by claiming that the annual cost should be $4.5 million rather than the proposed $3 million. When pressed about the source of that higher figure, it was determined that the higher figure was based on older, outdated Covid projections.
One Supervisor apparently felt that since three accountants were involved, (credentials not offered), we should just accept that higher projection. No disrespect intended, but too many bookkeepers become bean counters who do not excel at solutions and can only see the sky falling.
As one Supervisor pointed out, that much higher figure was thrown in to put off voter support. And indeed, fear was used. At one point the claim was made that if the referendum was voted down by the electorate, the County would be forced to close Pine Crest. No, if a referendum to keep Pine Crest failed, the Board could return to the option to sell.
The question of placing more taxes on the taxpayers was brought up. But not the fact that all taxpayers, and some donors, have consistently contributed to Pine Crest over the decades and have a vested interest in continuing ownership.
Unfortunately, throughout the entire process, neither the Board nor its Ad Hoc Committee spent much time on solutions to keep Pine Crest. It became painfully evident that the intent to sell was present from the very beginning with little to no effort on keeping it a County service.
If Pine Crest is sold, what will happen to the Social Services/Health Department building and their services?
And that is the crux of this issue–County services. Since this Board was seated in 2022, their obvious agenda was to eliminate as many County-supported services as possible. The old saying of “penny wise, but pound foolish” applies to many of this Board’s decisions. Unfortunately, we, the residents of Lincoln County, will ultimately pay the price.

– Diana C. Smith
Tomahawk, Wis.

The cost for Paid Letters to the Editor is $40.00 per letter of up to 250 words, plus $10.00 per additional 50 words, and must be prepaid prior to printing.

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