A high-profile St. Joseph County agency is closer to becoming part of an eight-county region following action its board members took Tuesday.
The St. Joseph County Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Board authorized director Liz O’Dell to proceed with a state-mandated plan to move from a four-county district to the eight-county region.
The eight-county Region 4 takes effect Jan. 1, 2014.
O’Dell said the current arrangement has Kalamazoo County at the center of a group that also includes St. Joseph, Allegan and Cass counties.
Effective in 2014, the eight-county region will feature St. Joseph, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Cass and Van Buren counties.
Services for St. Joseph County residents will still be provided from the agency’s Centreville-based office, but the creation of 10 regions statewide is expected to save money by eliminating duplication of administrative services and other measures.