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Shutdown won't have immediate impact in Morris area
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news Morris, 56267
Morris Minnesota 607 Pacific Avenue 56267

Area governments, institutions and businesses are bracing for a possible state government shutdown, but for now it appears operations will continue relatively unchanged.

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Both the City of Morris and Stevens County will continue normal operations in the event of a shutdown, but that a prolonged stalemate between the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton would have an impact on aid payments.

The one exception is the county's Human Services department, which could see funds dry up for a variety of services.

West Wind Village Administrator Mike Syltie said Friday that Dayton expanded the state's list of essential services to include medical assistance payments to providers.

That's key in that about 60 percent to 70 percent of the residents of nursing homes in the state have their care paid through Medicaid, Syltie said.

While staffing at West Wind Village is stable, the facility's ability to hire could be compromised if a shutdown slows or halts nurses from getting license verification through the state, he said.

County Human Services Director Joanie Murphy told the Board of Commissioner this week that several programs that are funded through some state dollars won't receive payments after June 30 if a budget accord is not reached.

Murphy asked the board to consider authorizing the use of county money to keep the programs -- such as programs for developmentally and mentally disabled people and for chemical dependency -- operating until the state can reimburse them when a budget agreement is reached.

The University of Minnesota, Morris also reports that it will remain open and operation in the event of a shutdown.

Officials announced Friday that the university of is "prepared to fiscally manage cash flow fluctuations" until a budget deal is reached.

Summer classes, new student orientation, student services, and other activities will continue as usual. Buildings and offices will remain open during regular hours.

"The loss of state support, either temporarily or permanently, will be a challenge to the University of Minnesota," said Richard Pfutzenreuter, University of Minnesota chief financial officer, in a release Friday. "However, like any large and complex organization, the university is prepared to fiscally manage fluctuations in our cash flow. We can weather a short-term disruption in the flow of next year's state appropriation to the university."

The university's goal in planning for a government shutdown is to minimize disruption to students, faculty, staff, and research.

University officials will closely monitor the situation at the Capitol and continue developing contingency plans in case the shutdown should stretch into late summer, according to the release.

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