Mower County Board address MDHS billing and legal errors plus approve continuance of refugee resttlement in county at last meeting of 2019

The Mower County Board of Commissioners held their final regularly scheduled meeting of 2019 Tuesday in the lower level of the Mower County Government Center, and one of the agenda items addressed was the Minnesota Department of Human Services incorrectly billing the federal government $8.8 million to cover costs for counties and tribes to place people at chemical dependency treatment facilities, along with other billing and legal errors.  KAUS News spoke with Mower County Administrator Trish Harren, who stated that the board decided the county will not be paying back the overbilled amount, which comes to $77,945….


Harren stated that with levy limits for 2020 already approved, if counties would be forced to pay the money back, they would be left with either using cash reserves or cutting other programs. The Mower County Board also addressed the issue of refugee resettlement in the county as President Donald Trump issued an executive order in September giving local governments a say in immigration policy.  The board approved to continue to allow the resettlement of refugees in the county, and Harren clarified what she thought to be confusion concerning the issue….

Harren went on to state that refugees enhance the diversity and enrich the communities and counties where they settle not only in Minnesota, but the entire country as well..

State refugee coordinator Rachele King stated recently that resettlement in the state has been declining as the federal authority has issued harder caps on the number of refugees admitted in recent years.  She stated that sixty-five million people meet the international standard to be a refugee, with less than half of 1% allowed into the country. Harren reported that Mower County received 15 refugees in 2017, 22 in 2018 and 30 in 2019.