Schoemann spoke during a public meeting on the county’s fiscal health.
“We’ve recognized the situation and the outcry and citizens clearly have no interest in doing the fee or the tax; call it what you want it’s a tax. So I had a budget workshop and I don’t think this board has the votes,” he said.
On the other hand, if the board does have the votes to pass the fee Schoemann said come October the County Board would have to pass the budget with the POWTS fee and that needs 18 votes.
“I don’t think there’s 18 votes on the County Board to pass the budget with the fee in it,” he said. “So the board is properly responding to the constituents, I’m trying to be responsive to the constituents; they don’t want the fee and we’re not going to implement the fee.”
During the public meeting Schoemann spent about an hour outlining the county’s fiscal status and then took questions from the audience.
“How much did the new county logo cost” was one inquiry. The answer $30,000.
“Very few counties have their own nursing homes at this point. Why don’t we sell the nursing home?” Schoemann indicated this may be a referendum question.
“We’re in the middle of studying that,” he said. “In this climate… it’s not worth it. I don’t mean it’s worthless but you won’t get any money for it.”
Schoemann said “for the record the Samaritan Campus does not get any property tax money.”
“It operates on Medicaid and private health insurance,” he said. “That’s for the time being but it’s totally unsustainable.”
Schoemann mentioned the cost to maintain the building and the cost of the nursing workforce. He said the future is part of a current study.
“This is a dollars and cents issue but when you see it it will be a moral issue too,” he said.
The Fiscal Health Informational meeting focused on the county’s structural deficit and the challenges caused by annual expenses outpacing property tax limits. The result: shrinking government, seeking shared services with surrounding units of government and discussing revenue diversity.