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Mower County Board votes to create Taxpayer Services Division

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Mower County Board of Commissioners chose to place the offices of the County Assessor, Recorder and Auditor-Treasurer under a new division, Taxpayer Services.

In August, the Board approved an organizational study which recommended the creation of the division.

While the study also recommended Planning and Zoning be placed under the new division, the department requested not to be placed in it. One of the biggest goals for the county, improving communication between Planning and Zoning and the Assessor’s Office, has been worked on, County Administrator Trish Harren said.

She requested the Board have Planning and Zoning be included in improvements to the county’s processes that are part of the change, but that they not be included in the new organizational structure.

Before changes are made to how departments or the new division are structured, improvements to how work is done and cross-training employees on other roles will take place.

The training has already begun and is showing promise, Harren said.

“Already they are making major improvements,” she said.

Some of the planned improvements to how the county does things will include digitizing records, creating standard procedures across departments in the division, improving communication and creating a space that makes delivering services more effective.

Two new full time employees will be overseen by the County Assessor under the plan.

The County Recorder will be put in charge of managing the improvement projects.

The Board approved the new plan unanimously.

To fully implement the new division and create its new space is expected to last about two years, according to the organizational study.

Also during the Board meeting, Mental Health Case Manager Priscilla Diggins was given a service recognition award for her work with clients to change their lives in ways that positively addresses their mental health needs and for being diligent in making sure that paperwork is properly done so the county is not the entity having to pay for expensive care.

Mower County Board Chair Jeff Baldus, left, presents Priscilla Diggins with a service award for her work as a contracted adult mental health case manager. Tyler Jensen/