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CLINTON — Clinton County officials are looking toward the transition of all funds into the Eastern Iowa Mental Health Region as dictated by recently passed Iowa legislation.

Clinton County Auditor Eric Van Lancker and County Budget Director Nick Manrique had a meeting with region representatives last week to discuss transition of all funds to the region as was included in Senate File 619, Van Lancker said. The meeting included a couple other county auditors and budget representatives from the region, he said.

“We’ll begin transitioning our funds to the mental health region in April,” Van Lancker said. “So I think what we’re thinking about doing is we’ll do a third in April, a third in May and a third in June. And then along with that, we’re also going to start in April the transition of sending our payables to Scott County to start being paid, too. So that we’re just not trying to flip that switch when the fiscal year starts so that we can take the next three months before the fiscal year starts to iron out any issues.”

The payroll for county mental health employees will still be handled locally and reimbursed by the region, Van Lancker added. The reimbursement will be done quarterly, he said.

The region board thought this process would be cleaner for the employees who work with the counties to stay where they are at instead of trying to bring them into the region, Clinton County Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Jim Irwin Jr. said. Irwin is the county’s representative on the region governing board.

Clinton County Supervisor Dan Srp agrees with the decision, noting the current county employees who are working on behalf of their individual counties do not need to be region employees.

Van Lancker noted the group is concerned with the 5% fund balance currently in the legislation. There have been good discussions to try to get the fund balance to 15%, Van Lancker said.

“Hopefully that percentage gets changed yet this legislative session,” Van Lancker said. “Because that’s just not doable. You know when you just think about flipping the fiscal year calendar and they’re reimbursing quarterly and you’re at 5%, that’s going to be rough cash flow there that first quarter.”

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