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Grundy County celebrates national county government month

Fourth in a Series

April 26, 2015
Reinbeck Courier

The Grundy County Board of Supervisors has proclaimed April 2015 as National County Government Month. National County Government Month is an annual celebration of county government. The theme for this year's celebration is Counties Moving America Forward: The Keys are Transportation and Infrastructure.

The County Engineer and the Secondary Road Department are responsible for the supervision of construction, maintenance, including snow removal and gravel re-surfacing, and repair of highways and bridges on all county roads in Grundy County. This includes approximately 650 miles of gravel roads, 195 miles of paved roads, 15 miles of dirt roadway, and 330 bridges. The Secondary Road Department currently has 22 employees that are dedicated to maintenance of county roads and bridges. The county has 10 dump trucks, 13 motor graders, and 2 rubber-tired wheel excavators along with other miscellaneous equipment to assist in maintaining county roads.

Bridges over 20 feet in length located within the county are inspected every two years. The Secondary Road Department is required to repair those bridges when needed. Spring and summer flooding oftentimes leads to damages that require bridges to be closed temporarily until they can be repaired and reopened. The average cost to replace a bridge in the county is $450,000 to $500,000.

The Secondary Road Department is also responsible for weed spraying along county roads throughout the county. The truck-mounted equipment used to accomplish this can maneuver around signs and other obstacles along the roadside.

The County Sheriff is the county's principal peace officer and is elected every four years. He is in charge of all county law enforcement and investigations as well as the county jail. He is also in charge of security for the courthouse and other county buildings. The Sheriff's Office is in charge of traffic enforcement and accident investigation on all roads within the county. The county deputies provide law enforcement to eight of the nine cities in the county through contracts with each of those cities. The County Sheriff's Office conducts all criminal and drug investigations.

Included in the Grundy County Law Enforcement Center is the county jail. All persons arrested in Grundy County are processed through the Sheriff's Office. The county jail can house up to 14 inmates at any given time.

The County Sheriff's Office also handles all 911 communications. It handles calls for service for law enforcement, fire departments, and Emergency Management Services. These calls are handled 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

The Civil Division of the Sheriff's Office handles all civil process orders from the courts, including small claims, garnishments, levies, sheriff sales, land condemnations, and others.

The County Sheriff's Office is in charge of emergency management and coordinates services from local law enforcement, fire, Emergency Management Services, public health, public works and private contractors. The Sheriff's Office assists in matters of disaster mitigation and recovery, coordinating both state and federal resources as well as county resources. The County Sheriff is in charge of homeland security for the county, and his office issues permits to purchase and carry firearms in the county.

The County Attorney is an elected position for a term of four years. She and her assistants are the chief legal advisors and enforcing officers for the county. They provide legal advice to all county agencies, elected officials, and department heads. They prosecute criminal and traffic cases. In addition, they represent the State of Iowa in juvenile and mental health cases.

The General Assistance Office provides services in three categories: emergency relief, extended nature relief and relief for the poor. Such relief may be in the form of food, shelter, rent, clothing, transportation, emergency telephone service, fuel, lights and utilities, medical attention and even burial. The Coordinator of Disability Services acts as the gatekeeper to a system of services and supports for persons with mental illness, brain injury, intellectual disabilities, substance abuse and developmental disabilities, taking applications, making eligibility decisions and evaluating the needs of each individual requesting assistance.

The County Conservation Board is responsible to provide the best conservation, outdoor recreation, and education programs possible with the resources available. Grundy County maintains a total of 19 different areas which include parks, wildlife areas, prairie remnant areas, and a cultural and natural history museum. These areas represent approximately 833 acres on which are located fishing areas, hunting areas, boating areas, shooting ranges, picnic areas, hard surface and grass trails. The Grundy County Heritage Museum contains cultural and natural history displays, live fish and reptile aquariums, a gift shop and meeting facilities. The staff offers educational programs covering such things as hunter safety, fishing tournaments, nature walks, and talks.

While the Grundy County Landfill officially closed on September 29, 2007, the county continues to operate a Customer Convenience Center for solid waste and recyclables. The recycle program accepts glass, cardboard, plastic, newspaper, and magazines.

It has been said that you can only govern men by serving them, which rule is without exception. Each year the County Board of Supervisors and other elected officials and department heads are challenged to provide many services at a reasonable cost for all the citizens of Grundy County. The employees of Grundy County are dedicated to providing quality and cost effective services to those citizens.



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