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County study will examine co-locating departments

Goodhue County officials will spend $21,000 on a study examining possible co-location of the county's public health and human services departments.

The County Board approved the recommendation Tuesday, nearly four months after top officials from those departments suggested eventually merging the divisions would be a good idea.

WOLD Architects & Engineers will begin the study later this month and is scheduled to make a final presentation to commissioners at a Jan. 20 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Another firm did offer the county a cheaper price for a study. WOLD's experience, county Administrator Scott Arneson said, was worth the extra cost.

The firm has worked with several Minnesota counties on similar projects, though Arneson reminded commissioners the study does not lock the county into any decisions regarding the two departments.

County officials will bill the cost through the Social Services Department and receive a 50 percent reimbursement from the state.

WOLD Architects & Engineers is based in St. Paul.