WALKER -- The Cass County Board voted Tuesday to refer to the county budget committee the possibility of hiring a county planner for the environmental services department in 2005.
If hired, the planner would assume some responsibilities Director Paul Fairbanks now has, including serving as departmental liaison to the planning commission and board of adjustment. This would free Fairbanks to spend more time on his administrative duties as a department head.
In response to another issue discussed at a recent board meeting with the planning commission, board of adjustment and environmental services advisory committee, the board voted Tuesday to retain Scott Anderson (whom Minnesota Counties Insurance Trust has assigned to several Cass ESD lawsuit cases) to serve as special legal counsel to ESD to review the county's ESD ordinances for conflicting language and definitions. Cost will not exceed $5,000.
Anderson also will be retained as special legal counsel to review and comment on the county's present public nuisance abatement practices. Cost will not exceed $2,500.
The county will continue to provide environmental services consultation on issues to cities and townships within the county and will ask Minnesota Counties Insurance Trust to recommend a form of agreement for cities and townships wishing to contract for county services.
Cass commissioners voted Tuesday to rescind action taken last year to eliminate six recycle bins around the county as a cost savings measure.
Stockman Transfer, the contractor who services the recycle program for the county, had continued last year to service those bins without charge to the county, so the bins actually never were removed.
However, with escalating fuel costs this year, owner Brad Stockman recently informed Fairbanks he no longer could afford to service these bins without charge. Costs to service each recycling container run $325 per month.
Fairbanks said there are adequate funds in the 2004 budget, unlike the 2003 budget, to cover the cost for all bins.
The board voted to accept only the original quote from Travis Construction of Hackensack to rebuild a building at the May Township garbage and recycling transfer site or to rebid. Travis had asked for an additional $2,500 to cover the cost of frost footings for the building, because that amount had been omitted from the original quote.
Commissioner Dick Downham expressed concern about the county's credibility on bidding processes if the board were to accept a change. While Travis still would be the low bidder, Downham said another bidder could ask to lower his bid, unraveling the process.
If Travis decides against building the structure with frost footings for the original quote price, the board instructed Fairbanks to seek all new quotes before the second board meeting in June.
The board referred to the environmental service committee the issue of whether the county should amend its contract with Stockman Transfer to include a separate, additional payment to clean sites around recycle bins.
Currently, non-recyclables left at these sites and snow removal actually are the county's responsibility, Downham said. In practice, Stockman has been taking some of the non-recyclables left illegally at the recycle sites, Fairbanks said.
Some snow removal is done by the county and some by business owners adjacent to the sites. Sentence to serve crews have provided cleanup services, but, with only one crew now, those crews are not as readily available as they used to be, Fairbanks said.
Stockman proposed to charge the county $1,836.97 per month to cover the cost of one employee and a vehicle to provide cleanup services all sites on a weekly basis.
The board renewed its contract with Brita Sailer to operate the county's household hazardous waste program for $20 per hour, plus 36.5 cents per mile mileage. She was the only person to respond to a request for proposals to provide that service.
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