Posted at: 06/25/2013 10:14 PM
Updated at: 06/25/2013 10:18 PM
By: John Doetkott

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No Merger For MoCo Health & Human Services

(ABC 6 News) -- After years of discussion, the Mower County commissioners have decided not to merge the human services department with surrounding counties.

On Tuesday morning the Mower County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously against the proposal, citing cost as the main reason for their decision.

Although the idea was to create a combined services authority as a way to save money, officials said there were no immediate savings and it would have actually cost the county roughly $1 million to continue pursuing the idea.

The merger would have combined Mower County's services with Steele, Dodge, and Waseca counties.

And while those counties may still look to combine in a formal way, officials in Mower County said they'll look at both internal options and outside partnerships for ways to make things run smoother.

“It's a matter of looking at alternatives,” said Julie Stevermer, director of the Health and Human Services Department in Mower County. “What's the most efficient? What's the most cost effective, and what's the best return on the taxpayer's dollar?"

Officials hope to find those cost saving options sooner than later.

Stevermer said the department is already understaffed and expects an increase in demand for services as more and more baby boomers enter retirement.