Computers and televisions seem to become obsolete in record time, but before residents think of dumping those items in the basement or the woods, Crow Wing County has options.
Electronic devices, many of them with potentially hazardous components or metals, are being limited for disposal in landfills. In Minnesota, computer monitors and televisions cannot be placed in municipal solid waste after July 1, 2005. However, the county has two drop-off events, one in the spring and one in the fall, for government and public entities and businesses. The program requires businesses to pay solely for the disposal cost of its used electronics. Thirty-three businesses participated last year.
For residents, such electronics may be brought to the landfill at a cost that mimics furniture disposal charges of $5.85.
Doug Morris, solid waste coordinator, recommended the county address the issue now before bans go into effect next year. He also recommended the county look at VCRs, copiers, stereos and telephones, computer processing units and keyboards. With items being recycled, the tax would be dropped, putting the cost at $5 for those items. And the $5 covers a system, such as the computer with monitor and keyboard for the one price. Morris recommended the county ban those electronics beginning in mid-April, but still handle the acceptance of electronics for recycling at the landfill. Morris said he is hoping to tie the effort into spring cleanup projects in the area.
The county board agreed.
Morris also noted the county mailing of $5 coupons called "Dump Dough" to area residents, which can be applied to any service at the landfill.
Morris said about 12 percent of the coupons were redeemed last year, but the number of people using the coupons has increased by 3 percent to 5 percent each year.
In other business, the county board:
Proclaimed April 18-24 national county government week.
Approved a parks department logo.
Approved hiring a part-time appraiser to fill the spot vacated by the resignation of Malinda Johanneck.
Approved the 2004 forest harvest plan on county administered tax-forfeited land involving 1,856 acres.
Approved closure of forest roads/trails until the ground firms up later in the spring.
Agreed to send the proposed dog ordinance to the townships.
Looked at committee appointments and noted finding people interested in serving on county government committees can be a lengthy task in itself.
Commissioners went over four legal-size pages of committees and added a few more. Commissioners joked about prize positions on those committees which rarely meet. But they also noted finding people willing to be active in county government at the committee level was a daunting task.
Appointments tend to be more men than women. But commissioners said the obstacle is often trying to find people willing to serve.
Commissioners agreed to appoint Bob Becker to the Lands and Forestry Advisory Committee, choosing Becker after considering whether it was better to have someone they knew or a fresh face. Several slots remained open on a number of committees.
For interested residents, service options on committees cover a variety of subject matters -- zoning and land use, community health services, transportation issues, parks, highways, human rights, Geographic Information Systems, water planning and surface use. Not all have immediate openings. Others have vacancies still to be filled and others have appointed members with terms set to expire this spring or by the end of the year.
The county plans to advertise the openings in the near future.
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