COUNTY BOARD NEEDS TO HEAR FROM YOU
A lot of changes have been quietly happening in St. Croix County, and then, after the fact, the people find out what’s happened and it’s too late to turn back the clock. The fact that the administration committee decided to list the Agricultural Services and Education Center for sale is one of those changes.
After years of past county supervisors and others planning the perfect office building for FSA/NRCS and the extension offices in the center of the county in Baldwin, a committee of 5 people who live along the St. Croix River, just 15 years later decided that it would be something that could be sold in order to have money to pay for the County Market building that was purchased to house the Health & Human Services and ADRC offices. The citizens of St. Croix County were not made aware of this because on the county agendas it was just listed “Capital Projects.” That doesn’t give any indication that they were planning to put the building up for sale. In the past, referendums for other issues didn’t count for anything. The county board didn’t listen to the people. Now the people haven’t even been considered.
Even though a study had been made about the Ag Center just three years ago, stating that it was in the perfect spot to serve the users of the services, this was not even considered by the committee. They were just looking at dollars instead of service. Because an appraisal showed that the property is worth more than a million dollars, it was decided that’s where the board could get some money to pay for their other recent purchase of the County Market building in New Richmond, not figuring how much it would cost to move them elsewhere and how inconvenient it would be for the people that use the Ag Center. The thought that they can work from their cars with laptops just does not make sense. The extension staff needs files and space and a place to meet and hold workshops, lectures, etc.
The board originally started the fiasco by not renewing the lease with the federal offices that rent from the county in the Ag Center. Being they failed to complete the paperwork on time, the federals started looking elsewhere to rent. The county was getting $13 a sq. ft., but wanted to double that to $25. Even if they wanted to raise the rent a small amount, say even to $18 a sq. ft, it would be enough to cover the cost of the maintenance which is $55,000 a year. But they wouldn’t negotiate, so that left the federals with nothing else to do but look elsewhere. So now if the federals move out of the Ag Center, there is no income from that building, just expense for upkeep. And moving the extension offices to the County Courthouse in Hudson, which is crowded enough, would be more of a problem and they would have to spend money adding on to make room for everything. The county still has about a week in which they could initiate renegotiations with the federals, but they have to act on it now.
So bottom line is: If it’s not broken, don’t fix it! The Ag Center is in the perfect location for the people it serves. Please talk to your county supervisors. Let them know how you feel about this issue and ask them how they feel. The 19 board members are the ones who will make the final vote to sell or not to sell. The majority of the people who use the Ag Center are not in Hudson, they’re on the eastern two-thirds of the county. There have been too many decisions made affecting people’s lives without consulting those people that are affected.
If you want to e-mail them, the e-mail addresses are easy to remember: Each one is the district number plus the address. Ex: Chairman Daryl Standafer isDistrict4@co.saint-croix,wi.us; and there are 19 districts. Otherwise, names, phone numbers, and addresses are below. The clock is ticking, they need to hear from you soon.
District 1 – Travis Schachtner, District1@co.saint-croix.wi.us; District 2 – Agnes M. Ring, District2@co.saint-croix.wi.us; District 3 – Tim Hood, District3@co.saint-croix.wi.us; District 4 – Daryl Standafer, District4@co.saint-croix.wi.us; District 5 – Fred Yoerg, District5@co.saint-croix.wi.us; District 6 – Clarence “Buck” Malick, District6@co.saint-croix.wi.us; District 7 – Chris Kilber, District7@co.saint-croix.wi.us; District 8 – Richard Ottino, District8@co.saint-croix.wi.us; District 9 – Tom Hawksford, District9@co.saint-croix.wi.us; District 10 – Dave Ostness, District10@co.saint-croix.wi.us; District 11 – Roger Larson, District11@co.saint-croix.wi.us; District 12 – Fred Horne, District12@co.saint-croix.wi.us; District 13 – Ron Kiesler, District13@co.saint-croix.wi.us; District 14 – Andy Brinkman, District14@co.saint-croix.wi.us; District 15 – David Peterson, District15@co.saint-croix.wi.us; District 16 – Joe Hurtgen – 2522 110th Avenue, Woodville, WI 54028, 715-698-2818; District 17 – Brian Hurtgen, 1242 County Road D, Glenwood City, WI 54013; District 18 – Duane Russett, Disctrict18@co.saint-croix.wi.us; District 19 – William Peavey, District19@co.saint-croix.us.wi.
Dick Hesselink, Town Chairman & farmer, Stanton Township
Gerald Croes, Town supervisor & farmer, Stanton Township
Charlotte Croes, affiliated with HCE and 4-H in St. Croix Co.