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Recycling dumpsters in Spring Valley

Fri, May 30th, 2014
Posted in All Government

Illegal dumping of non-recyclable landfill garbage and hazardous waste caused commissioners by consensus to have the dumpsters near Spring Valley intended only for recyclable materials removed early in May. Picture submitted.

The recycling dumpsters that were located along Highway 16 east of Spring Valley were removed in early May due to the high volume of illegal dumping. At the county board’s May 27 meeting the board voted to have the dumpsters put back at that location.

Jon Martin, Solid Waste Administrator, noted that 8 to 12 yards of non-recyclable waste including hazardous waste material had been picked up each week at the site. By consensus the commissioners had agreed to have them removed for a time to see what would happen.

The county does not directly pay for the removal of the landfill waste or hazardous material that is picked up. However, Waste Management who is contracted to pick up the dumpsters and remove all waste materials along with the recyclables figures disposal of the non-recyclable waste in the contract price charged to the county. Martin explained that what he picks up himself does directly cost the county.

Martin acknowledged that most people use the dumpsters for the right purpose. Commissioner Tom Kaase said he was in favor of returning the dumpsters and then concentrating on catching the people who are doing the illegal dumping. He added that it was unfortunate that people that observe the illegal dumping fail to call Martin or the authorities.

Commissioner Randy Dahl commented that they shouldn’t punish citizens who follow the rules, but they cannot stand by and allow constant abuse by some. He suggested installing cameras to catch offenders and that offenders should be fined much more than it would cost to properly dispose of the waste. Chairman Chuck Amunrud maintained that if abusers don’t dump there, they may dump in roadside ditches.

Sheriff Daryl Jensen said that since this discussion came up three weeks ago, he has asked his staff to pay closer attention, adding his department is part but not all of the solution. Jensen reported that they are in the process of purchasing some technology so they can monitor the site. However, they don’t want to fill the courts with illegal garbage dumpers.

Commissioner Marc Prestby wanted to wait a longer period before putting the dumpsters back. A motion was passed to put the dumpsters back and to coordinate with the Sheriff’s Office to stop the illegal dumping. Prestby voted against.

During the Citizens Input portion of the meeting, Benny Helgeson, Spring Valley, had his say on the dumpster issue. He noted the inconvenience for those who are trying to do the right thing. He said he had made three trips with his recyclables and found no dumpsters each time. He described his efforts and contacts to find out why they didn’t have dumpsters available. Helgeson said he was a tax payer and he was frustrated that people who try to do things right are penalized along with the abusers. He agreed with the use of signage and a camera to catch or dissuade abusers. He suggested they light the area more and that they reward people who turn the abusers in.

Helgeson mentioned that one abuser who was caught will not be prosecuted because according to Spring Valley’s administrator the city will not pay for a prosecutor.

Amunrud Says Thank-you

May 27 was third district commissioner Chuck Amunrud’s last day. He resigned two weeks ago effective this day. Amunrud has served on the board nearly 12 years. He said it is time for his wife Debbie and himself to get on with the next phase of their lives. He thanked the commissioners he has been serving with currently and also those he served with in the past.

Amunrud maintained that this has been a good county board, noting part time people are being used to do what amounts to a full time job. He wished his successor the best and offered to make himself available for questions while he is still in the community. He and his wife will continue to live in Spring Valley until their home is sold and then will move to Racine, Wis. where they have family including five grandchildren.

Amunrud thanked the county staff and praised them for their good work. He concluded his remarks saying that our county stands out and is unique.

Commissioner Duane Bakke suggested Amunrud is part of the reason this board has worked together so well, adding it has been a pleasure having you here. Bakke wished him well thanking him for his service.

Other Business In Brief

•A Conditional Use Permit was approved as recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission for Steve and Dixie Grebin. The CUP is for the commercial use of a building at 21257 U.S. 52, Preston. The property includes about 1.7 acres and has a paved parking area. They will use the building for offices for their commercial staffing and consulting business which may provide employment for twenty people.

Bakke noted that the recent change in county ordinance 604.03 #13 for Agricultural District Conditional Uses will allow for the use of an existing building such as this one located in the Ag District along the Highway 16, 52, or 63 corridors for a commercial or industrial use. Zoning Administrator Chris Graves said a public hearing at P and Z on May 15 was held and that there were no negative comments.

•Approval was given for a CUP for the construction of a cell phone tower to increase cell phone coverage in the area as recommended by P and Z. AT&T will install a cell tower on Larry and Rose Marie Sample’s property, Chatfield Township, Section 7. No negative comments were heard at the P and Z public hearing and the plans for the tower meet all setback requirements. The city of Chatfield has no objections.

•The low quote from Rochester Sand and Gravel at $294,012.01 was accepted for the reconstruction of CSAH 17 in Preston from the library to the south bridge. County Engineer Ron Gregg acknowledged that the low quote was about 30 percent higher than the engineer’s estimate.

•The purchase of a 2006 XL100 lowboy trailer was approved for $20,000 plus trade. This is $5,000 below the budgeted amount.

•A resolution requesting a variance to replace a timber deck bridge in Preble Township (east of Choice) on a dead end limited use roadway was approved as recommended by the county engineer. The variance is needed to replace the structure with three box culverts with concrete deck costing about $150,000 rather than a much more expensive bridge costing about $400,000. The township has requested assistance using Township Bridge Funds to replace the bridge which has been reduced to a three ton bridge. Only two seasonal residences are served by the roadway.

•The possibility of a wheelage tax which could raise $230,000 and/or a half cent sales tax which could raise $800,000 to $900,000 to be used for the preservation of roads was discussed at Highway Committee. Dahl said for us to do preservation to extend the life of roads, we need a source of revenue. Bakke said the taxes allows for a mechanism to get money for 3 digit roads. Amunrud noted there currently is no funding for 3 digit roads.

Bakke noted that the Carrolton Township board has passed a resolution two years in a row to request township bridge money from the state for the Old Barn bridge.

•Approval was given for the purchase of 911 phone controller with IP phone system as requested by Sheriff Jensen. The upgrade will cost $184,028.44 with three years of support services. Jensen said it will be paid for out of 911 funds. The digital system will allow for dispatchers to have one headset for both radio and phone calls. The upgrade will receive text messaging and e-mails. Jensen said he is confident that this is something we have to do to have a good 911 product.

•Revisions to the Fillmore County Feedlot Ordinance were approved as recommended by P and Z. No negative comments were heard at a public hearing held May 15 by P and Z. Bakke explained that the number of animal units required to trigger a hearing for a CUP has been raised from 500 to 1,000. The 2,000 animal unit cap remains in place. Feedlot Officer Mike Frauenkron said the 1,000 animal unit level requires an MPCA feedlot permit in addition to a county permit. Bakke added that Frauenkron works with farmers to get feedlots placed in appropriate locations. Construction of new animal feedlots or the expansion of existing feedlots over 999 animal units requires an onsite evaluation by the county feedlot officer and planning commission.

•Approval was given for copy machine leases from A plus Imaging Systems for Social Services at $168.39 per month and for Public Health at $201.01 per month. Both departments will use the Public Health copier when needing a color copy which is the reason for the price difference. County Coordinator Bobbie Vickerman said they have been working to more efficiently use equipment thereby reducing the amount of equipment in the offices by sharing where possible.

•Duane Bakke was elected chairman to replace retiring chairman Chuck Amunrud. Marc Prestby was elected vice-chairman (Bakke has been vice-chairman this year).

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