MASON CITY — The Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors has approved submitting a formal request to join a different mental health region.
Cerro Gordo County is among the 19 counties that are currently part of what’s known as “County Social Services” which provides financial support for mental health and disability services programs to individuals. The county for the last couple of years has been exploring leaving County Social Services due to concerns raised about rising costs and the quality of services in the region. The supervisors approved making a request to join “CICS”, formerly known as Central Iowa Community Services.
Supervisor Chris Watts says the county two years ago explored joining other counties to form their own region, but currently this is the right step to take. “Two years ago we looked at forming our own region, and that turned out to be a lot of work, so we looked at joining an existing region. CICS just to the south of us made the most sense because of the service providers that we both commonly work with, so hopefully little to none for disruption.”
Watts says they believe CICS is the best fit for Cerro Gordo County for services and as a savings to the county’s taxpayers. “The difference, it will be basically a one-time savings to the Cerro Gordo taxpayers of about $175,000 to $180,000. We hope to put that to good use within the mental health system that we join.”
Watts says it’s now up to CICS to accept Cerro Gordo County. “A week from Thursday, their board will have received a letter we are sending out today, and their governance board will decide to accept or reject adding Cerro Gordo County to their region. Webster County voted unanimously two weeks ago to submit their letter of intent to leave the CSS region and do the same thing that we are doing also for very similar reasons.“
CICS currently serves Boone, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Hardin, Jasper, Madison, Marshall, Poweshiek, Story and Warren counties. If the CICS board approves, Cerro Gordo County would change regions at the start of the fiscal year on July 1st.