Rochester, MN  (KROC AM News) - The 44-year partnership between Rochester and Olmsted County involving a consolidated Planning Dept. may be coming to an end.

The City Council Monday discussed the future of the department and indicated it favors a shift away from the current operation.

The council directed staff to talk to county officials about 2 options. One is a hybrid model that would result in separate departments with some shared services. The other would have separate departments for the city and county.

The council was told it could cost the city as much as $2-million annually to set up its own department. The county pays for the costs of the existing department, although most of the funding comes from Rochester property taxpayers.

The County Board is scheduled to discuss the issue at its May 15th meeting.

The council may be asked to vote next week on a proposal to allow Oronoco to connect to the city’s wastewater system.

The council was told Oronoco would pay all capital costs. Oronoco is seeking state funds to help pay for those costs. If the council votes in favor of the proposal a final decision will be made by Oronoco, which has been under state pressure to upgrade its existing wastewater treatment program. Oronoco could decide to build its own treatment plant.

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