WALKER – Paul Fairbanks, solid waste director, obtained county board approval Tuesday to seek bids from the county’s 23 garbage haulers to service the county’s recycling collection sites.
Commissioner Neal Gaalswyk, who represented the board with Commissioner Bob Kangas on a recycling committee, said the intent of the committee’s plan is to encourage more cardboard recycling and to maximize haulers participating in the program.
The county currently has 29 collection sites where residents can bring a wide variety of clean recyclables without charge. Additionally, there are 79 sites where cardboard-only bins are available to businesses, but residents also can use without charge.
The county plans to seek for bids the 29 mixed use sites separately from the cardboard-only commercial uses sites.
Until now the cardboard-only sites have been contracted to five haulers at a flat rate plus mileage. Under the new plan, Fairbanks proposes to switch to a per ton rate, possibly $40, to better measure the actual volume being collected.
When questioned at Tuesday’s meeting by haulers about differences in mileage to the central collection site north of Pine River and whether the proposed $40 would be enough to be enticing to haulers, Fairbanks said he plans to meet with haulers to address their concerns before a final plan goes to the board for implementation.
Fairbanks reported the new cardboard storage building is complete at the county collection site north of Pine River. When cardboard is kept dry in this building, it is expected to bring a higher payment from recycled product buyers, Fairbanks said. Building cost ran $36,388.88.
Stockman Transfer, who contracts to operate the county recycling and garbage collection site there, will now transfer four acres to county ownership and will give the county a higher percentage of recycle sales revenue until the amount offsets the county’s cost to build the new building.
Cass will contact larger industrial businesses in the county to determine whether it would make sense for those businesses to separate their industrial production waste from other waste such as that generated from their offices.
Fairbanks told the board it appears the county could pay a significantly lower disposal rate at an industrial-only landfill than at the general purpose landfills the county currently uses. If industries in the county want to participate and separate their industrial waste, the county then would seek bids from industrial landfills.
Tim Terrill, newly appointed Mississippi Headwaters Board director, introduced himself to the commissioners Tuesday.
Emergency Services Director Kerry Swenson informed the board all county departments will participate Feb. 19 in a test of the county’s pandemic response plan. Participants will have two days to submit to Swenson a report on how well the plan worked for their department, he said.
This plan lays out how the county would respond if a major pandemic health event or disaster befell the county.
The commissioners approved a contract between the sheriff’s department and the city of Backus for the sheriff to provide eight hours a week law enforcement services to the city at $40 per hour or $16,640 a year.
They accepted a $40,315 grant from Minnesota Department of Public Safety
Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division to match $40,351 the county spent to operate the county emergency services division of the sheriff’s department in 2013.