Weather Forecast


County will hold 'fire' sales of wood

Near La Salle State Recreation Area, numerous trees broke off. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

Hubbard County will schedule salvage timber sales for the north region hit hard by windstorms earlier this month.

That will allow loggers to harvest damaged timber from the debris left when 80 mph winds tore through the Becida area July 2.

The board discussed having a timber sale in August and one possibly in September.

"The wood snapped off," said Land Commissioner Mark Lohmeier. "It's gonna lose a lot of weight" if not harvested soon.

"It's a very tight market," he added. "We'd like to get this wood up as soon as possible."

Of the local mills, the Nobord plant has scheduled a shutdown in September, Lohmeier said, so it could be optimal to sell the wood over the counter in smaller sales units.

The board waived the appraisal process to get the wood to market.

The Fern and Rockwood Township areas got hardest hit, Lohmeier acknowledged.

"This is an emergency," said commissioner Kathy Grell. "We need to get something to happen."

Commissioner Lyle Robinson suggested freeing loggers from existing contracts to "work on the blowdown."

"The logger is our partner," Robinson said.

The board agreed to have an upcoming sale, possibly two, while giving loggers a free extension of time for current contracts through June 2013, at the suggestion of commissioner Cal Johannsen.

Commissioners agreed the wood needs to be cleared before a fire breaks out.

In other business, the board

n Looked long term at whether the cost of incinerating garbage may be comparable to hauling solid waste to a landfill.

Solid Waste Officer Vern Massie presented the board with cost comparisons beginning in 2012 based on two presumptions: Continue landfilling for the next decade or beginning incineration when the contract with Waste Management Inc., expires in 2014.

Currently Waste Management hauls Hubbard County solid waste to a landfill in Gwinner, N.D.

Commissioners wondered how long the county could continue to bury its waste and reasoned burning it might be the better option.

Incinerators in Fosston and Perham are available and the county has had ongoing discussions with both facilities.

"Perham has room for 7,000 (cubic) yards," Massie told the board. "Fosston will take it all."

Commissioner Lyle Robinson questioned whether emissions standards might change while the county begins the switch.

With scrubbers and other emission reducing equipment "the air going out of there is cleaner than what's going in," Massie assured the board.

Incinerating waste means the county would have to invest in a fleet of trucks to haul it to a burner.

But it would not interfere with the recycling contract the Developmental Achievement Center has with the county. The Perham incinerator performs "front end separation" on site, so items that can't be incinerated are extracted from the waste stream. Hubbard County would get a credit for those items, Massie said.

"I like the idea of moving towards incineration," commissioner Kathy Grell said.

But Massie cautioned, "We're not going to go jumping off a cliff because the state wants us to."

And Robinson said even if the county isn't piling its waste in the ground, some form of it remains even after incineration.

"Has anybody ever heard of regional haze?" he asked.

n Decided to purchase a new sedan this year and one next year, eventually replacing the county's two vans. The vans aren't much by county employees and the sedans are much more affordable to purchase and get better mileage, the board reasoned.

There has been periodic talk of getting rid of the motor pool and having county employees take their own cars on the road, but with this vote, the county appears set on retaining the fleet of county vehicles.

n Set a "drop dead" date to consolidate payroll functions out of the coordinator's office by Sept. 1. The county is streamlining several functions to eventually cut administrative costs. A "Land Records" department is in the works that would consolidate functions of the Environmental Services Office, the Auditor/Treasurer, Recorder and Assessor's offices. The county also agreed to set aside some funds annually for continuing education from M State's Detroit Lakes campus.

n Agreed to spend $1,750 on a new ATV trailer for the Sheriff's Department, one that will fit the newly purchased ATV.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

(218) 732-3364