Public hearing held on solid waste solutions

Budget and fees were approved at Dec. 29 meeting

A public hearing was held Dec. 20 at the regular meeting of the Todd County Board of Commissioners for issues related to Solid Waste.

Mike Hanan who acts as the director, said that solid waste has two main sources of revenue:

 o Tipping fees and MSW disposal fees, and 

o Parcel fees.

The purpose of the hearing was to discuss the ways that solid waste might solve their ongoing budget issues.

Hanan presented some options in the short-term arena which included:

o Approve or not approve the Solid Waste Department request to increase the per pound rate for MSW disposal from $0.05 per pound to $0.07 per pound, and 

o Approve or not approve the Solid Waste Department request to increase the per ton rate for MSW disposal from $90 per ton to $94 per ton.

A long-term solution presented was to approve or not approve a Volume Based Service Fee for commercially coded parcels which was presented previously durung the budget process.

He said that the volume based option will bring the commercial parcels more in line with what they actually generate than where they are now.

Commissioner David Kircher said that he was in favor of the long-term solutions because the short-term fixes only bring them back to the board every year.

Kircher asked about their upcoming building needs and if the long-term option presented would help them meet their goals.

Hanan said that they’ve been setting aside $50,000 each year for this and wondered if the $240,000 paid back to them from the county could be transferred in part or whole to that fund.

Transfer Station Supervisor Jeremy Clasemann said that it was hard when budgeting to give the commissioners more than an approximation of what income they’ll have, because they never know what will come in.

Another change discussed was that starting in January 2017, the county will be paying a flat fee each month to the Perham incinerator facility because of the shortages in garbage.

Commissioner Randy Neumann said that was like going to the bank and borrowing $10,000 when they only make $6,000.

The county will be paying Perham $74,141 per month.

He said they think they will get 7,000 tons, but 8,600 tons of garbage are expected so they are 1,600 tons short.

Hanan said that not all of the garbage in Todd County goes to Perham.

Their designation plan should help with this and that all but two of the garbage haulers that service Todd County have signed the contract to take garbage to Perham.

“That will go a long way in shoring things up,” said Hanan.

Chair Barb Becker asked about the diverted garbage as in times when the incinerator is down and not taking garbage.

“What happens with that? We are paying double on that,” said Becker.

Hanan said they would always have diverted waste, but that the only time they would pay double is if the garbage is acceptable waste and it gets diverted at the facility.

Commissioner Gary Kneisl said that all of the counties who use the facility under contract are in the same position. He added that the amount they pay monthly can be adjusted as they go.

Hanan said that the monthly flat fee will help so there’s not the ebb and flows they usually see. He said that slow energy sales are part of the problem, too, as natural gas prices are the lowest most of them have seen in a long time.

The facility is scheduled for 14 days of down time with an additional 12 days annually for unscheduled problems.

Hanan said that Perham has been down a lot more days than that this year.

Neumann said he had checked with Pope/Douglas County about their incinerator and they’re at 95-98 percent of operating time.

Hanan said part of that was because that facility has three burners and Perham only has two.

He said that the issues are related to the boiler and that the new one is the big issue. Since the expansion the biggest problems have been occurring. A firm is going to be called in to examine the boiler to see what can be done.

Because the board has not approved the Solid Waste budget yet, Hanan plans to bring that in again on Dec. 29.

“You can’t operate in 2017 without an approved budget,” said Auditor/Treasurer Denise Gaida.

Gaida also said that in 2017 they should take the suggestion (given by Kircher at a previous meeting) to meet bi-annually so they can work on issues a couple of times a year.

Hanan said that the volume based service fee would start in 2017 as a learning year for businesses and then the fees would begin in 2018 and following.

Kircher said that once a plan was in place they could be proactive.

In other business:

o Approved the public defender contract with Peters and Churchwell. The 2017 contract is the same as the 2016 contract with no changes in cost or services. The base fee is $17,700 annually.

 Todd County is responsible for providing public defender services in certain types of cases.  

The county staff, including the prosecutor and health and human services staff that work with the public defender have recommended that the county continue to contract with Peters and Churchwell. 

o Approved a resolution requesting approval from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for the sale of tax forfeited lands. There were a number of properties on the list.

o Approved the 2017 budget. Also approved the certified levy at $16,352,220 less County Program Aids of $1,350,255 for a total local levy of $15,001,965. This is the same as the preliminary levy approved earlier this fall.

o Approved the final payment for the County Road 57 paving contract for $26,352.79 to Central Specialities, Inc. Partial payments of $420,884.06 have been been made to the contractor as work progressed for a total cost of $447,236.85.

o Approved the final payment  for the 2016 gravel and dust control contract with Central Specialties, Inc. for $10,979.53. The total of all payments including this one totaled $219,590.78.

o Approved rejecting all of the bids received for the County Ditch 18 repair project. According to Ditch Inspector Nancy Uhlenkamp, an addendum was added to the bid requesting references and two of the contractors did’nt see that request. She said they will likely rebid it.

o Approved the Community Corrections Act Subsidy Agreement for 2017 in the amount of $352,873.

o Approved the final plat of “Swartzentruber Acres” subdivision as presented. The Swartzentruber Acres Plat consists of one residential lot of 32.58 acres more or less, located in the AF-1 Zoning District.

o Approved a rezoning request by Gregory M. Johnson to rezone the NE4 of the SE4 of Section 13 from AF-1 to AF-2 to allow an increase in dwelling density.

o  After lengthy discussion, the board approved an application to establish a preliminary plat called Little Swan Villa consisting of 16 lots and 2 out-lots (25.14 acres) in shoreland zoned land and AF-1. The request is a cluster development with greater than 40 percent open space. There were four conditions set which are:

1. Proposed site is in proximity of actively farmed land - both crops and animals. Include the sights, sounds, smells of agriculture statement in plat conditions.     

2. A Shoreland Alteration Permit be obtained for the proposed accesses.

3. The number of mooring sites on common access in Outlot A is limited to six sites.

4. A two row tree planting be established on south property line.

o Heard an annual update from STEP (former DAC) Executive Director Cory Lawrence. They currently serve 71 people and have added new work areas for the clients this year.

 STEP provides day training and habilitation and supportive employment services for clients with mental health and developmental disabilities. STEP receives referrals from Todd County and other counties to provide these services.

After hearing the update, the board approved the STEP Purchase of Service and Host County Contract effective Jan. 1, 2017 - Dec. 31, 2017, at an annual cost of $120,000. There’s no change in budgeted amount for 2017.

o The board also heard the annual update from Camphill Village which currently has 20 residents at their various houses on their property.

The village near Sauk Centre provides community residence facilities and services for adults 18 years or older, with mental health and developmental disabilities. 

Director Bill Briggs provided the update which included some of the challenges he expects they will see over the next two years.

The county contract is $816 per month.

Commissioner David Kircher asked how they were doing financially.

Briggs said they were doing fine.

“Money’s not the issue, it’s how they (state and federal government) want it spent,” said Briggs.

Of the 20 residents, only seven are covered by the county contract. Last year there were 15 covered by it.

The average stay at the village is 17 years.

They have volunteers from five countries and other from 10 counties in Minnesota and one from out of state.

“It’s a true international community,” said Briggs, who added that they have a great partnership with Todd County.

o Approved the Northern Pines purchases of service contract renewal for 2017.

o Approved the SomePlace Safe Parenting Center purchase of service agreement renewal for 2017. Todd County Health and Human Services has occasional need for supervised visitation services. No payments are made unless services are utilized. There was no cost in 2016.

o Approved the resignation/retirement of Home Health Aid Sheila Roth after 15 years of service with the county. It was effective Dec. 5. Along with that action the board approved the recruiting and hiring of a part-time, intermittent home health aid/homemaker to fill the position.

o The HHS Department maintains change funds and petty cash funds for incidental expenses and to make change for clients. Due to changes over time in the day-to-day operations, the department no longer has a need for all of the change funds it maintains and does not need a petty cash fund. 

The board approved the elimination of one-$30 petty cash fund and two-$20 change funds. A total of $70 will be deposited into Fund 21 - Public Health. The board approved change funds include one-$100 change fund, one-$50 change fund and one-$20 change fund; for a total of $170.

o Approved the Memorandum of Agreement betweenMorrison-Todd-Wadena Community Health Board and Todd County. This will designate HHS Director Jackie Och as the CHB administrator for 2017.

Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties participate in a joint powers agreement as a multi-county Community Health Board.

Along with this designation, Morrison and Wadena counties will each reimburse $1,000 for the rotating administrator position. The $2,000 compensation goes to Och for her added responsibilities.


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