Solid waste rates set to increase
By Jean Ruzickajruzicka@parkrapidsenterprise.com Hubbard County's commercial solid waste accounts are soon to see a significant increase in assessments, instituted over a three-year period. At this week's county board meeting, Solid Waste adminis...
By Jean Ruzicka
Hubbard County’s commercial solid waste accounts are soon to see a significant increase in assessments, instituted over a three-year period.
At this week’s county board meeting, Solid Waste administrator Jed Nordin presented proposed rates - $190 per ton, based on haulers’ reports. This will affect owners of commercial-classed property with buildings, daycare and at-home businesses. The tier system is being eliminated.
Residential unit fees will remain unchanged.
Nordin proposed a 50 percent increase of what the full amount should be the first year, 75 percent the second and the full assessment by the third year.
The change will affect about 500 commercial accounts, Nordin reported. He expects the restructuring to bring in $320,000 more the first year, $640,000 by the third year.
Commissioner Matt Dotta questioned the process of “not going to 100 percent immediately. Are some (businesses) being subsidized?” He pointed out the assessor imposes full assessments immediately.
“A three-year ramp up will give us time to work with commercial accounts,” Nordin explained, “give them time to plan. I don’t want to put businesses in hardship.”
The increases, board chair Kathy Grell pointed out, should be based on accurate data.
Letters will be sent in January with information on the changes.
The new fee schedule, based on volume, is to assure “accuracy and consistency for all assessments,” Nordin said.
The transfer station tipping fees will remain the same as 2014, with the addition of asphalt shingles.
Hubbard County assessed property owners are allowed to bring household, demolition and other waste to the transfer station at no charge, with the exception of larger tires and mobile homes.
Non-assessed, non-resident, out-of-county waste is dumped at a cost.
At the recommendation of Nordin, commissioners denied Ed Ranson’s request for a 3 percent increase for the Developmental Achievement Center’s work at the recycling center.
In other action, the board:
n Approved, after a comparison of population and salaries in area counties, the 2015 wages for the county attorney at $103,900 and the sheriff at $88,600.
County commissioners will receive $20,900; the current salary is $15,500. Board members no longer receive the $4,600 in cash-out insurance benefits. Per diems will remain the same.
n Learned Hubbard County is the second in the state to obtain Transit Program funding of $46,000, which will be used to extend Heartland Bus hours of service and the access area.
Grell expressed concern with the funding creating additional competition for Park Rapids Taxi, a private enterprise.
n Learned Heritage Living Center’s $10,145,000 bond sale process is complete for the $14.3 million project.
Commissioners approved a resolution for New Market Tax Credit Financing of $3.1 million.
The new facility is expected to open in the fall of 2016.
n Will reconvene the meeting at 9 a.m. Monday, Dec. 22 to finalize the levy and budget.
Commissioners tentatively approved a $12.8 million levy but will make a final decision after department managers’ evaluations are completed.
The Housing and Redevelopment Authority levy of $230,000 was adopted, including the designation of $60,000 to the Hubbard County Regional Economic Development Commission, up from last year’s $50,000 HCREDC request.
n Approved the transition of Veterans Service Officer Greg Remus and secretary Karen Van De Venter from full- to part-time and to hire a full-time assistant VSO.
n Approved timber appraisals for the timber auction, the 16 tracts comprising 969.2 acres, 19.5 percent of the total plan for 2015.
The auction will be held at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 5 at the Public Works building.
Timber to be auctioned is located in Clover, Lake George, Fern, Lake Alice and Badoura townships.
n Set a public hearing for the proposed liquor licensing ordinance for 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 20, the current to be repealed.
Ordinances addressing wine licensing, keg beer and Sunday liquor will be rescinded, to be replaced with a single ordinance regulating the sale of alcoholic beverages.
The ordinance does not apply to incorporated cities.
Commissioner Greg Larson questioned the county’s policing role regarding a new subsection on administrative penalties for licensees.
n Approved one-year appointments of county coordinator Debbie Thompson, Environmental Services officer Eric Buitenwerf, recorder Nicole Lueth and Solid Waste officer Nordin. This is pending satisfactory performance evaluations.
n Agreed the Park Rapids City Council may use the county board room on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month with the understanding that if the Planning Commission/Board of Adjustment meeting is continued, causing a conflict, the city council meeting will be held in an alternate location.
The board had earlier asked to PC/BOA to find an alternative meeting room if the meeting was continued.
Buitenwerf told commissioners the board room is the only room that will work for the PC/BOA meetings because they must be recorded. “If we do not have an audio record of a meeting and a decision is appealed to court, our legal counsel has said that we would be in a losing position for lack of documentation of what transpired at the meeting,” he said.
“We may lose good people,” Cal Johannsen said of PC/BOA members. “It’s our facility. If someone wants to use it, they should work around us.”
Approved Barb Barth as an Environmental Services administrative assistant.
Approved, per Social Services request, two purchase of service agreements with Stellher Human Services for family-based counseling services and home-based mental health services; Nelson In-Home Services for family-based life management services and Kinship of Park Rapids for mentoring services.
“I’m a strong believer in helping parents raise kids,” Social Services director Daryl Bessler told commissioners. “The government does a terrible job,” he said of foster care and other interventions. “But it’s my projection that we will see more government involvement in families.”
Approved hiring an assistant county attorney at the step 2 wage, $60,383, as recommended by county attorney Don Dearstyne.
Michael Ryan subsequently accepted the position.
Agreed to follow the recommendations of the interviewing committee on filling the finance/auditor/ treasurer position.
Dotta said the committee was unanimous in its choice for first and second candidate rankings.
Presented Employee Service Awards to 20 county workers, recognizing, collectively, 340 years of service.
Authorized the coordinator’s use of outside counsel.
Dearstyne clarified after the meeting that outside counsel would address labor issues.
Approved filling two custodian positions.
Approved quotes for tire recycling from Liberty Tire of Savage at $149 per ton; Lube-Tech of Litchfield for used-oil recycling, 75 centers per gallon paid to Hubbard County; appliance, scrap metal and batteries at $150 per ton from Crow Wing Recycling, scrap and batteries paid to Hubbard County; and removal of fluorescent tubes from TC Lighting in Bemidji.
Closed the meeting for union strategy.