The Winnebago Board of Supervisors have unanimously approved drafting a Letter of Intent to join the Northwest Region for Mental Health Services. This move means that the county along with potentially others in the area are breaking away from the County Social Services Mental Health Region after a contentious affiliation with the 22 county group. Other area counties in the group who may be taking the same action include Hancock, Worth, and Kossuth. Each disagrees with the overspending practices of County Social Services which have resulted in a $2 million deficit in taxpayer dollars. County Social Services CEO Bob Lincoln has been quoted in media outlets as saying that the deficit will be made up in the next budget cycle, further depleting monetary resources in that cycle to make up for past spending practices on failed or low producing programs authorized by Lincoln, according to area county supervisors.
Winnebago County Supervisor Bill Jensvold made it clear that the letter was to show intent.
Both regions serve those within their respective counties with financial assistance and informational support for those suffering from mental health illnesses. The State of Iowa forced counties to join regions in order to better serve those with mental illness. The counties could then pool financial resources in order to absorb costs. However, counties in the area felt that most of the money sent to the County Social Services region was being used more for patient cases in metropolitan areas and less for rural cases.
The county will draft a final version of the Letter of Intent to be signed and delivered to the Northwest Region soon.