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As we have said in this space before, we believe in the power of communication. When two sides disagree on something, we believe in give-and-take dialogue for the greater good.

For that reason, we believe one more year of co-existence for Woodbury, Plymouth and Sioux counties as members of Sioux Rivers Regional Mental Health and Disability Services is, if necessary, possible.

Uncomfortable, perhaps, but possible.

If Woodbury County is unsuccessful in negotiations with the Iowa Department of Human Services to form its own region for delivery of mental health services for one year, we urge Woodbury, Plymouth and Sioux counties to accept continued Woodbury County membership in Sioux Rivers through June 30, 2019. The Woodbury County Board of Supervisors should not spend taxpayer money on legal action over the issue.

That arrangement would end some of the uncertainty faced by individuals and families who need mental health services and allow time for Plymouth and Sioux counties to find a replacement member for Woodbury County while Woodbury waits for the Rolling Hills Community Service Region to finish its process for acceptance of Woodbury as a member beginning July 1, 2019. (The Rolling Hills board last month said it is willing to accept Woodbury County as a member, but not until next year.)

In a March 25 editorial, we urged the DHS to expedite approval for Woodbury County to form its own region for one year. We said forcing an arrangement whereby Woodbury County remains part of Sioux Rivers for one more year served no useful purpose because, in our view, relations between the two are strained to the point of no return.

However, DHS Director Jerry Foxhoven earlier this month said Woodbury County can't form its own region.

"Woodbury County can't stand alone," Foxhoven told The Journal. "The law doesn't even give me the power to give them a waiver right now."

That cast this issue in a new light for us.

When we believed stand-alone status for Woodbury County was an option, we advocated for it. However, if in fact state law doesn't permit Woodbury County to stand alone, then we prefer to see Woodbury, Plymouth and Sioux work harder at mending fences and agree to get along for another year.

What we don't wish to see happen is for Woodbury County to immerse itself in an expensive, protracted court fight leading to an uncertain outcome.


Opinion editor

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