About Rice County

General Information

Rice County is located in Southern Minnesota just 50 miles south of the Minneapolis and St. Paul metropolitan area. The County encompasses an area of 516 square miles and contains 7 cities and 14 townships. According to the 2010 Census, the two largest cities in Rice County are Faribault with a population of 23,352, and Northfield with a population of 20,007. Rice County has a total population of 64,142 which is the State's 13th most populous county. Rice County was organized on March 5, 1853, and is governed by the general laws of the State of Minnesota. The cities of Faribault and Northfield comprise slightly less than half of the County's total taxable value.

Governmental Organization & Services

The Rice County Board of Commissioners consists of five commissioners elected from five districts in the County. All commissioners serve overlapping four-year terms of office. Each member of the board serves on various committees.

The Board appoints the County Administrator who is the chief executive officer of the County. The Administrator is responsible for the administration of Board policy and for the management of the various County departments.

The County's functions and employees are divided among 16 departments. Four of these departments - Attorney, Auditor/Treasurer, Recorder and Sheriff - are headed by members who are elected to office. The remaining department heads are appointed by the County Board.

The County provides a full range of services. These services include: health and social services; tax assessment and collection; judicial, law enforcement and jail services; the construction and maintenance of highways and infrastructure; recreational facilities, planning and zoning; and general administrative services.

The General Fund budget of Rice County is approximately $21 million and the total budget is $49 million. The County has approximately 330 full-time equivalent employees. Interstate Highway 35 bisects Rice County from north to south. Minnesota State Highways 99, 60, 246, and 21 traverse the County. Air transportation is available through the Faribault Municipal Airport.

Rice County Profile