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Jasper County CPC’s regionalization inquiries raise ire of other counties

Things got testy at Tuesdays Board of Supervisors meeting as Community Services Director of Central Point Coordination in Jasper County Jody Eaton updated the board on her offices progress in regionilization.

Almost a month ago at a Board of Supervisors meeting Eaton updated the board on the counties progress in regionalizing with Mahaska, Poweshiek and Marion counties. During Tuesday’s meeting, Eaton updated the board on the fact that Jasper County was considering exploring its option by talking with other counties that are regionalizing.

“It’s just information we wanted to share with you regarding inquires we’ve made about regionalizing,” Eaton said. “I know that you guy’s understand how important it is to weigh all of your options when making a decision. If you believe in local control and county government I understand that the whole concept of regionalizing is a daunting task.”

Eaton noted that her reaching out had started rumors and that she had contacted the other CPC’s and let them know that Jasper County had been contacting other regions. Mahaksa County CPC Director Julie Bak and Poweshiek CPC Director Dawn Roth were present at the meeting and did not seem pleased about this news.

“The CPC’s in those four counties have been working together for a year coming forward,” Bak said. “My thought is that if Jasper County is going to be looking at all their options, I can’t say that I blame you one way or another, I would request that you notify the other three counties that, that is what you’re doing.”

Bak mentioned that to her knowledge the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors hadn’t been notified of Jasper County talking to other regions. She also asked if the other counties should be exploring their own options right now.

“I did email all the CPC’s and let them know I had been asked to do this,” Eaton said.

Bak also stated that if there were issues and concerns could Jasper County bring them to the table to see if there were some solutions that they could come up with.

“I didn’t feel we were at that point, yet,” Eaton said. “I just thought we were making inquiries. I wanted to do it with the least amount of drama; I didn’t want to drag this out. That was my intent; I don’t think we are at that point yet.”

Board member and Jasper County regionalization representative Joe Brock spoke on the situation.

“We haven’t made decision, yet,” Brock said. “I will say as this has progressed in the last year, I have seen a lot of red flags. We’ve had other options, I guess, I got to the point where I thought we should be exploring those too. We have got to find out what is the best fit for Jasper County and I don’t know if this is going to be the best fit for us.”

Brock emphasized that no decision had been made yet. Bak asked the board should the other counties hold up until Jasper County reached its decision. Brock let Bak and Roth know Jasper County will have a decision by the end of the week. Board Chair Dennis Stevenson also chimed in.

“We will certainly sit down and discuss this and tell them (other counties) our position if we get there,” Stevenson said.

According to the legislation passed by the state, regions have to be up and operational by June 30, 2014. The states intent with the act was to bring all counties mental health and disability services to an equal level of service.

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