Winnebago Board Moves to Leave County Social Services

The Winnebago County Board of Supervisors followed through with their intentions to leave County Social Services. The organization is a conglomeration of 22 contiguous counties that manage and dispense psychological services monies. Recently several counties in the area including Hancock, Worth, and Kossuth have entertained the idea of leaving the district, but both the state and County Social Services have hampered the move.

The state requires that a county must be in a region where its borders touch another county in the psychological services group. It cannot isolate itself and join a region somewhere else in the state where it does not share a border with a member county. The idea behind the grouping counties together is to pool resources, in particular, taxpayer dollars, to help pay for psychological services for their residents. Winnebago County currently sends $372,999 in property tax levy money to County Social Services. Part of that money comes back to the county in the form of patient care. Supervisor Bill Jensvold, who represents Winnebago County on the County Social Services Board, believes the money would be better spent in the local area, with psychological services provided locally.

Jensvold also believes that the county does not have a strong voice in the 22 county region. The county only gets one vote and can easily be outvoted by the more populated counties in the region where hospitals and service centers benefit from levied taxpayer dollars spent there. Jensvold offered a solution to what would be next for Winnebago County.

Forming their own region is possible, but would require state legislative action to approve it. Currently, there are regions as small as four counties that are operating efficiently according to the Winnebago Supervisors.

The board formally approved a Letter of Withdrawal to County Social Services. The county will also submit the same letter to the state board of health.



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