Letter to the Editor: July 19, 2023
Letter to the Editor published in the July 19, 2023 issue of the Tomahawk Leader.
An open letter to the citizens of Lincoln County
I would like to ask Lincoln County citizens to ask themselves one question. “Are you better off today than you were one year ago with regard to county government?”
This time last year we had a non-partisan county board made up of citizens like us who were trying to do what was best for the entire county. This changed in April when Republicans decided to politicize these non-partisan positions by mounting a coordinated and well-funded campaign against sitting board members. Sadly they were successful and I doubt that we will ever see non-partisan elections at the local level again. We all lose because of this.
Since the Republican board took over, the county has lost the University Extension Program (one of only two counties in the state that do not have the program) and we are on the verge of losing our nursing home, Pine Crest.
Let’s look at these two issues, first, the extension program was funded by matching dollars from the University which meant that we received a dollar’s worth of service for fifty cents. I think that is a really good deal. The reason given was they could not afford it. This was not true, they eliminated the wheel tax ($20.00 per car) which brought in around a half million dollars in revenue, which was big for the county. How many of you have seen a change in your lifestyle because you have another $20.00 in your pocket? Just Curious.
Second, they want to sell the nursing home because they do not have the money, again not true, past boards have found ways to fund the home for over fifty years and I sincerely believe if we had last year’s board they would have found a way.
Pine Crest takes care of the poorest among us with around 70% of residents on Medicare. It is important to note that no care facility whether profit or non-profit can exist if it has over 10% of Medicare patients without some sort of outside funding. Pine Crest has about 70%. These people will be forced out, are you okay with this?
There are all sorts of federal programs in the works and the county has already received funding that was not available from the federal government until this year for other projects. They could find a way to keep Pinecrest if they wanted to, but they don’t.
Please speak up for these folks that cannot speak for themselves. At a minimum, they should hold off and have a referendum to see what the citizens think about Pine Crest after all they are supposed to be “Public Servants.”
In closing, I will note that while other North Woods counties are gaining population Lincoln County is not among them, more food for thought.
Is your life better without the extension program and the nursing home?
Walter B. Hobbs