Human services funding has huge economic impact on county

by Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer

The majority of human services spending in Morrison County comes from health program costs. At 62 percent, it is more than twice the next category of spending, for social services.

“The total amount of money paid in Morrison County last year was $65.47 million,” Social Services Director Brad Vold and Fiscal Officer Jim Sczublewski informed the County Board, Tuesday.

Of the revenue that comes to the county for health programs, 50 percent is federal dollars, 44 percent comes from the state, 5 percent is from local levy dollars and the last 1 percent comes from county fees.

“We just don’t realize how much the health care brings into our community,” said Commissioner Kevin Maurer.

“The year-end numbers from Social Services always amaze me,” said County Administrator Deb Gruber.   “I don’t think people realize the impact our work has on the local economy — nearly $65 million of overall funding annually goes to support the residents of Morrison County at a local taxpayer cost of $2.8 million.”

“When talking about overall social service costs, it seems like focus is generally given to the cost of assistance programs,” Gruber said. “What people don’t usually realize is that the vast majority of the total funding is going to support the health care of our families, friends and neighbors.”

“If we turn our backs on the elderly and those in need, we’re turning our backs on each other — and we just can’t do that,” Commissioner Jeff Jelinski said.