HASTINGS – On Friday, Mayor Corey Stutte, Senators Steve Halloran and Dave Murman, and City Council Members Butch Eley and Ted Schroeder were in attendance for a listening session to hear how the Hastings Regional Center employees feel about the impending move of their program to Lincoln and the YRTC girls from the Geneva Center moving to the regional center.
The local officials all said that they want to see the program stay here in Hastings. Mayor Corey Stutte said that the state left a big unfunded mandate when they closed down regional centers in 2005.
When you look at the effects that mental health has on our schools, on our kids, not only the children but with their parents, it affects the local school districts. When people are picked up by the police or sheriff’s office that obviously affects the sheriff’s office and the police department’s budget. And finally, when people are put in jail, which is run by the county, that impacts the county budget as well. So the state really needs to take a hard look at creating a strategic plan to make sure we’re able to address those needs moving forward.
Four State Senators, including Senator Halloran and Murman, sent a letter to Attorney General Doug Peterson about the legality of the move after the Department of Health and Human Services said they were still moving the program in October even though the legislature passed a bill that stated the move would be delayed until March.
They also said that lack of strategic planning and local input has also been an issue during this process. They are awaiting the opinion of the AG and Butch Eley said they should have a back up plan in case Peterson doesn’t side with the Senators.