The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

April 20, 2013

Blue Earth County strives to let the public know what it does

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MANKATO —

“Counties are sometimes known as the invisible layer of government and do a lot of work that is often out of sight to the public,” Beyer said.

For instance, Blue Earth County handles garbage collected in the area (46,000 tons in 2012) and operates a recycling center (70,200 tons recycled last year) and collects household hazardous waste (82 tons from nearly 4,000 households).

It provides public safety (14,599 sheriff’s office responses to calls for service, 86 inmates on average held in the jail each day, 78,124 calls to 911 answered, 2,766 cases worked by the county attorney’s office) and handles probation programs (nearly 11,000 hours of community service by sentence-to-serve crews, oversight of 1,584 offenders on probation, and nearly 10,000 drug tests collected).

The county operates the library (800-1,000 patron visits a day); assesses property valuations (34,127 parcels); handles licenses, vehicle transfer paperwork and passport applications (just under 65,000 combined).

The county maintains and upgrades an expansive road and bridge system (15 miles resurfaced and 20 miles seal-coated in 2012), operates 16 parks and bike trails, and is involved in numerous health and welfare programs for thousands of adults and children.

The County Board is commemorating the month by visiting each of the county’s work sites to thank employees for their efforts. After stopping by the Public Works facility last week, the board was set to visit the Justice Center, the courthouse and the government center this week.

April also brings National Karaoke week starting April 21. There’s a board meeting that week — but no indication the commissioners will be combining County Government Month and Karaoke Week in the same way they did with National Library Week.

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