Human Services merger losing steam

Published 10:40 am Monday, June 17, 2013

Mower County commissioners and staff will get their final look at the costs and effects of a plan to merge Human Services with three other counties before a vote by the end of the month.

The county board will hold a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the county board room of the Government Center to discuss the merger after the Dodge County and Steele County boards both voted last week to move ahead with the next phase. The other county, Waseca, has not voted.

However, Mower County leaders have expressed uncertainty about the costs. The next phase is the costliest to date, as Mower would pay $1 million or more.

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“I’m not in favor of spending $1 million on anything,” Board Chairman Jerry Reinartz said at last week’s board meeting.

At that meeting, County Coordinator Craig Oscarson told the board it’s better to get out now before the other counties spend the money on this phase.

“To me, if you’re to get out, get out now,” he said, noting moving ahead now and backing out later could strain relations with the other counties.