Letter writer misleading in misconceptions

To the editor: There seems to be confusion about many recent events and I believe the facts should be used to clarify some misperceptions. First, let us look at the Elders Home. In February of 2002 the facility was licensed for 80 beds, in May 20...

To the editor:

There seems to be confusion about many recent events and I believe the facts should be used to clarify some misperceptions.

First, let us look at the Elders Home. In February of 2002 the facility was licensed for 80 beds, in May 2003 it was decreased to 64 beds, and in July 2005 the number of licensed beds was decreased to 54. The total number of employees in December of 2002 was 98, at the end of 2005 it was 72 (full and part-time). All of the licensing information has been published by the NYM Herald public information. The Elders home faces challenges that are not unique. Competition from other facilities, rising costs, strict regulation, and reimbursement rates that have not kept pace make for financial challenges. Nursing homes across the state and region face similar situations and are downsizing. Locally, both the Wadena and Park Rapids facilities are just two examples of nursing homes that have downsized.

You can decide for yourself if a 32 percent reduction in beds and a 26 percent reduction in staffing is doing fine. Lost jobs and a reduction in payroll impacts the local economy no matter how you look at it. The Elders Home Board has worked hard and will continue to work hard to provide quality care under these difficult financial conditions. My hat is off to them. Fine would be a waiting list of people who want to enter the Elders Home, not lost staff and payroll. I for one did not consider a 25 percent reduction in staff at Lunds fine, so why would we consider it fine for the Elders Home?

Assessments have been in the news all summer. I personally can not say where the $3,600 cost estimate came from for Newton Township. If it was given out in error my apologies and I will accept the blame for that. What I can tell you for a fact though is the estimated rates for homes up and down Broadway were not triple as suggested. At the public meeting before construction started estimates were presented to the residents. Preliminary assessments were estimated to be $7,600 for a 50-foot lot and $13,700 for a 100-foot lot. After the project was completed example assessments of what residents would pay based on actual costs for 50 and 100 foot lots were $8,660 and $14,200 14 percent and 3.6 percent increases respectively. Not nearly the 300 percent as suggested. Again, all of this information was presented at public meetings.


North Haven: The facility did go out for bid in every sense of the word. A request for proposal was prepared and advertised in local and regional newspapers. Three, not two, proposals were received from interested investors. One proposal had hired an architect, had detailed cost estimates ($800,000), presented cash flow projections, and had sketches of the proposed facility modifications. The other proposals had limited detail. One proposal was withdrawn, leaving only two for final consideration. The council was presented a choice of a detailed proposal from someone who knows the NYM community and its housing needs, or a two-page proposal that was much less detailed.

The highest bid after two requests for bids from the investors was $29,000. The final selling price was $30,000, which will result in over $800,000 being invested in the local community and the facility being placed on the tax rolls. The $30,000 for the Park Board will pay for mowing grass, maintaining equipment, and keeping our parks as a great place for our kids to play. Again, all of this took place at public hearings, all proposers were allowed to present their plans, all investors were asked to make their best financial offer for the facility, and the details were reported in the NYM Herald.

Sisters Path and a Public Meeting: Yes, I did say there would be another public meeting. But, of course you were not told last week why I initially suggested that meeting. The only reason it was to be held was because an attendee at the public meeting insisted that the meeting had never been announced to the public. When I returned home I went back to the February 2nd edition of the NYM Herald and found that a front page article, paragraph 2, stated the time and location of the meeting. An honest mistake on the part of the individual misled me into believing we had not announced the meeting publicly. Of course, we now know that was not true - leaving no reason to hold another public meeting when the only reason for it to be held had disappeared.

I of course was at all of these public meetings and stand behind my decisions as they are for the betterment of the community. You can decide for yourself if you are being deceived by your community leaders, but I will hold my head high and continue to proudly serve New York Mills.

Randy Clarksean


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