Waseca County board approves next step of human services redesignPublished 7:35am Wednesday, September 19, 2012
And then there were four.
The Waseca County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 Tuesday to become the fourth county to approve the next phase of the Southeastern Minnesota Human Service Redesign.
The Mower County board approved the phase last Tuesday, as did the boards in Steele and Dodge.
The next phase is mobilization, which County Coordinator Craig Oscarson described as planning to identify decisions and questions. The phase will cost about $160,000 — half of which is being paid by the Bush Foundation — and will last about three months. The counties will again have to vote to move into the cross-functional detailed design phase, where much of the heavy lifting and key decisions will be addressed. It would take three to five years before the counties are fully merged.
Commissioners Tony Bennett and Mike Ankeny said the merged counties will also have an easier time meeting state performance guidelines and avoiding fines for missing the mark. Commissioners also fear the state will force counties of less than 55,000 population that don’t meet performance guidelines to merge later. Commissioners have said they’d rather join forces with other counties on their own terms.