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Hubbard County discusses licensed waste haulers

Hubbard County solid waste administrator Jed Nordin addressed the county commissioners at the board meeting Tuesday, Jan. 17 on matters regarding the licensed waste haulers.

"This is a topic I've wanted to bring to you for some time, dealing with the out of county waste that's being delivered by the licensed haulers," Nordin said. "There's been an agreement in the past that they can bring the waste here and they have to declare how much it is, similar to the amount that they declare in county. Over time it has gotten to be more work for our office than what the benefit is back to the haulers."

Nordin explained that his office spends too much time trying to verify what the quantities are and whether the county is being paid enough, or whether they are delivering to other counties to make sure those deliveries are being hauled to counties outside of Hubbard County.

He was looking for a directive from the commissioners as to whether or not they felt this was a practice that should be continued, or if as a licensed hauler the drivers would be able to only deliver county waste to the transfer station.

"In the end it's unfair to Hubbard County taxpayers to be paying for this waste that's coming in," Nordin said.

Commissioner Cal Johannsen asked Nordin whether he felt the haulers were reporting inaccurate numbers.

"There could be some of that, I don't want to make that accusation. I think a bigger problem is the number of loads that need to go elsewhere aren't," Nordin explained. "There's a disagreement as to what that amount should be. When I check at the end of the year I'm getting conflicting reports from the hauler. You can't dispute the numbers that the facilities say they received, that's what I have to go by."

"It's just becoming more work than it needs to be," he added. "Hubbard County doesn't owe that service to any out of county accounts. I think it would be easier if we said, 'here's the line, that waste goes there, this waste comes here.'"

According to Nordin, only so many haulers still haul out of county waste and not all of them adhere to policies. "It's gotten to the point that it's just not worth it," he said.

Johannsen asked if it would require rerouting the haulers' routes to only service Hubbard County.

"There's haulers everywhere that could pick up these accounts. What you don't want to see is somebody go to another county and be able to undermine a hauler there because they're undermining disposal fees," Nordin said.

Nordin added that some neighboring counties allow certain accounts to be considered "in county" due to their close proximity to a county line.

"One mile on the outside of our line is a lot less miles to haul it here than it would be to haul it to Wadena or Becker," he said. "I understand that but when we're talking about accounts that are clear on the other side of Menahga or Osage and those accounts are coming here, there's something not right about that."

"It would make a lot of difference if they would agree to pay the fee that we're requiring but they won't do that either," David Olsonawski, public works coordinator said. "So we're not getting paid for the out of county garbage, which would be fair."

According to Nordin, the haulers are given the option to pay for the load if it is hauled to Hubbard County or to make sure that the quantity goes elsewhere but that there still ends up being disagreements.

"Accounts change throughout the year, volumes can change and we don't have the system set up to police this and it's been two solid years of trying to accommodate this in the right way," he said. "It's just too much hand holding to make sure those loads are getting there and how much they should be. My opinion is that we don't owe that to anyone."

Nordin explained to the board that in order to be effective it may become necessary to revoke a license if Hubbard County no longer allows haulers to dispose of out of county waste and the hauler continues to do so.

"If it is beneficial to the hauler they need to make sure they're on the up and up with us, not the other way around," he said.

"We don't need to be penalizing the people that are doing it right," Johannsen added.

"The downfall is that this is somebody's livelihood. Even more so than that, if the accounts that they've got aren't being picked up because they can't be dumped anywhere is bad for everybody," Nordin continued. "We need to set policies, we need to enforce them and be consistent on that."

The commissioners took no official action on the matter but gave Nordin a directive to discuss the matter with the haulers to explain the policies that are in place and that those policies need to be adhered to.

In other business county commissioners:

• Approved a state contract bid from NORTRAX in Grand Rapids, Minn. in the amount of $235,648 for a John Deere 670GP motor grader and the equipment.

• Approved a quote from Park Rapids Ford for the purchase of two Ford F150s at the price of $31,741 per truck to be used for the highway department and solid waste.

• Reviewed the timber auction results from Jan. 9 which totaled $320,268.96.

• Approved the grant funding application and adopted a resolution of support for the Schoolcraft OHV Trail System managed by the Northwoods Riders OHV Club.

• Approved the state contract quote from Frontier Precision to replace trimble equipment for the Land Survey office at the cost of $26,639.95.

• Approved new waste hauler's licenses for TC Lighting Supplies and Recycling in Bemidji, Minn. and Rapid Roll-Off Systems in Park Rapids.

• Authorized the purchase of four laptop computers from NowMicro in St. Paul, Minn in the amount of $13,840 for the Sheriff's office.

• Approved the Hubbard County and Tribal Child Care Plan.

• Authorized an employee from the County Assessor's office and an employee from Environmental services attend out of state training in Fargo, ND.

• Approved the GIS Enterprise License Agreement at $25,000 per year for a three year agreement.

• Approved the purchase of a datacard printer and a digital camera to be used in the Human Resources Department for the issuance of Hubbard County employee identification cards.

• Approved an office area remodel for the Department of Corrections, the total cost of the project being $19,963.14.

The next regular Hubbard County board meeting will be held at the Hubbard County Government Center on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 9 a.m.

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