Yellow Medicine County showcasing new government center with open house today
GRANITE FALLS — Workers at Minnesota’s visitor information centers are well practiced at answering the question: “How do I get to…?’’
Janel Timm, property and public service director, and co-workers at the Yellow Medicine County Government Center are getting out of practice at answering this question, and that’s a very good thing.
They are hosting an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. today to showcase the county’s new Government Service Center at 180 Eighth Ave., Granite Falls.
The county purchased and remodeled a former bank building to house its property, administrative and finance offices, along with a new meeting room for the County Board of Commissioners. The Government Service Center is the result: A one-stop location for anyone needing the services traditionally offered by the statutory offices of auditor, assessor, recorder or treasurer.Until they made the move, the various offices were located in the courthouse. There were three different public service windows. Workers were often interrupted by visitors looking for directions to other offices in the courthouse complex.And since their offices were scattered about the first floor, it was sometimes necessary to send clients from one window to the next and back again to complete their business.“It wasn’t conducive to how we do business today,’’ said Timm.In contrast, the new government center makes it easy. “It’s a little more personalized and a lot more private,’’ said Timm. There’s room for clients and workers to meet one on one without worry someone may be inadvertently eavesdropping. There are also public kiosks with computers where members of the public can work privately to access county tax records or research vital records.There are currently 12 full-time staff members in the Center, and others who perform temporary and part-time duties here.With 8,635 square feet of space, there’s room for growth if needed.Originally built in 1974, the building most recently served as offices for Fagen Engineering. The county purchased it for $450,000 and invested approximately $750,000 to remodel the building, install an elevator and replace the roof.It was opened for business in mid-December.Timm said word seems to have gotten out about the new location. Few are the visitors today who initially stopped at the courthouse in search of these offices.Yet she noted that most county residents have yet to visit the new site. Today’s open house is an opportunity to do so.County Administrator Peggy Heglund said they are also taking advantage of the open house to have representatives from other county offices on hand to explain the services and roles they provide.